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THE GREEN PASTURES 



BY MARC CONNELLY 
The Wisdom Tooth 

WITH GEORGE S. KAUFMAN 

Dulcy 

To the Ladies 

Mcrton of the Movies 

Beggar on Horseback 



V ▼ * w v v v 



THE 






GREEN PASTURES 



A Fable 



SUGGESTED BY ROARK BRADFORD^ 'SOUTHER J 
SKETCHES, "oL* MAN ADAM AN^HIS CHItO-UN* 



\ 




J}., 



i 



MAR 



l\^l&ON^NEL 





FARRAR & RINEHART, Incorporated 
NEW YORK 



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

TIOX: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that "The Green 
Pastures", being fully protected under the copyright laws of the I 
States of America, the British Empire, including the Dominion of Canada, 
and all other countries of the C n, is subject to a royalty, 

rights, including professional, amateur, pictures, recitation, public 

.g, radio broadcasting, and the rights of translation into foreign 
tges are strictly reserved. In its present form this play is dedicated 
to the reading public only. All inquiries regarding this play should be 
addressed to the author in care of the publishers. 



COPYRIGHT, 1929, BY MARC CONNELLY 
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 



TO MY MOTHER 



CHARACTERS 



Mr. Deshee, the Preacher First Gambler 



Myrtle 

First Boy 

Second Boy 

First Cook 

A Voice 

Second Cook 

First Man Angel 

First Mammy Angel 

A Stout Angel 

A Slender Angel 

Archangel 

Gabriel 

God 

Choir Leader 

Custard Maker 

Adam 

Eve 

Cain 

Cain's Girl 

Zeba 

Cain the Sixth 

Boy Gambler 



Second Gambler 

Voice in Shanty 

Noah 

Noah's Wife 

Shem 

First Woman 

Second Woman 

Third Woman 

First Man 

Flatfoot 

Ham 

Japheth 

First Cleaner 

Second Cleaner 

Abraham 

Isaac 

Jacob 

Moses 

Zipporah 

Aaron 

A Candidate Magician 

Pharaoh 



CHARACTERS 



General King of Babylon 

Head Magician Prophet 

First Wizard High Priest 

Second Wizard Corporal 

Joshua Hezdrel 

First Scout Second Officer 
Master of Ceremonies 



Oiiri 



SCENES 

Part I 

i. The Sunday School 

2. A Fish Fry 

3. A Garden 

4. Outside the Garden 

5. A Roadside 

6. A Private Office 

7. Another Roadside and a House 

8. A House 

9. A Hillside 

10. A Mountain Top 

Part II 

1. The Private Office 

2. The Mouth of a Cave 

3. A Throne Room 

4. The Foot of a Mountain 

5. A Cabaret 

6. The Private Office 

7. Outside a Temple 

8. Another Fish Fry 



The following is a copy of the program of the first 
performance of "The Green Pastures," as presented at 
the Mansfield Theatre, New York City, Wednesday 
evening, February 26th, 1930: 

Laurence Rivers presents 
THE GREEN PASTURES 

A FABLE 

by 
Marc Connelly 

Settings by Robert Edmond Jones 

Music under the direction of Hall Johnson 

Play staged by the Author 

"The Green Pastures" was suggested by Roar\ Bradford's 
Southern Sketches, "OY Man Adam an His Chillun" 

CAST OF CHARACTERS 

(In the order of their appearance) 

Mr. Deshee Charles H. Moore 

Myrtle Alicia Escamilla 

First Boy Jazzlips Richardson, Jr. 

Second Boy Howard Washington 

Third Boy Reginald Blythwood 

Randolph Joe Byrd 

A Cook Frances Smith 

Custard Maker Homer Tutt 

First Mammy Angel Anna Mae Fritz 

A Stout Angel Josephine Byrd 



CAST OF CHARACTERS 



A Slender Angel Edna Thrower 

Archangel J. A. Shipp 

Gabriel Wesley Hill 

The Lord Richard B. Harrison 

Choir Leader McKinlcy Reeves 

Adam Daniel L. Hayncs 

Eve Inez Richardson Wilson 

Cain Lou Vernon 

Cain's Girl Dorothy Randolph 

Zeba 4 ^ Edna M. Harris 

James Fuller 

Louis Kelsey 

Collington Hayes 

Ivan Sharp 

Josephine Byrd 

. . . Tutt Whitney 

Susie Sutton 




&mJA<^. 



Cain the Sixth 
Boy Gambler. . 
First Gambler. . 
Second Gambler 
Voice in Shanty. 

Noah 

Noah's Wife. . . . 

Shem Milton J. Williams 

First Woman Dinks Thomas 

Second Woman Anna Mae Fritz 

Third Woman Geneva Blythwood 

First Man Emory Richardson 

Flatfoot Freddie Archibald 

Ham Homer Tutt 

Japheth Stanleigh Morrell 

First Cleaner Josephine Byrd 

Second Cleaner Florence Fields 

Abraham J. A. Shipp 

Isaac Charles H. Moore 

Jacob Edgar Burks 

Moses Alonzo Fenderson 

Zipporah Mercedes Gilbert 



M 



CAST OF CHARACTERS 



The King's Favorites 



Aaron McKinley Reeves 

A Candid at^Magician . . . ._ Reginald Fenderson 

Pharaoh^t^ Randel 

The General. ... Walt McClane 

First Wizard. Emory Richardson 

Head Magician Arthur Porter 

Joshua Stanleigh Morrell 

First Scout Ivan Sharp 

Master of Ceremonies Billy Cumby 

King of Babylon Jay Mondaaye 

Prophet Ivan Sharp 

High Priest Homer Tutt 

Teona Winkler 
Florence Lee 
Constance Van Dyke 
Mary Ella Hart 
Inez Persand 

Officer Emory Richardson 

Hezdrel Daniel L. Haynes 

Another Officer Stanleigh Morrell 

The Children 
Philistine Bumgardner, Margery Bumgardner, Anothony Syl- 
vester, Mary Sylvester, Fredia Longshaw, Wilbur Cohen, Jr., 
Verdon Perdue, Ruby Davis, Willmay Davis, Margerette 
Thrower, Viola Lewis 

Angels and Townspeople 

Amy Escamilla, Elsie Byrd, Benveneta Washington, Thula 

Ortiz, Ruth Carl, Geneva Blythwood 

Babylonian Band 
Carl Shorter, Earl Bowie, Thomas Russell, Richard Henderson 

C xiii 3 



CAST OF CHARACTERS 

The Choir 

Sopranos — Bertha Wright, Geraldine Gooding, Marie Warren, 

Mattie Harris, Elsie Thompson, Massie Patterson, 

Marguerite Avery 

Ahos — Evelyn Rurwcll, Ruthena Matson, Leona Avery, Mrs. 

Willie Mays, Viola Mickens, Charlotte Junius 

Tenors — John Warren, Joe Loomis, Walter Hilliard, Harold 

Foster, Adolph Henderson, William McFarland, 

McKinley Reeves, Arthur Porter 

Baritones — Marc DWlbert, Gerome Addison, Walter Whitfield, 

D. K. Williams 

Bassos — Lester Holland, Cecil McNair, Tom Lee, Walter 
Meadows, Frank Horace 

The Author wishes to than\ Alma Lillie Hubbard of New 
Orleans for assisting in the selection of the spirituals. 



t>ivll 



AUTHOR'S NOTE 

"The Green Pastures" is an attempt to present 
certain aspects of a living religion in the terms of its 
believers. The religion is that of thousands of Negroes 
in the deep South. With terrific spiritual hunger and 
the greatest humility these untutored black Christians 
— many of whom cannot even read the book which 
is the treasure house of their faith — have adapted the 
contents of the Bible to the consistencies of their every- 
day lives. 

Unburdened by the differences of more educated 
theologians they accept the Old Testament as a 
chronicle of wonders which happened to people like 
themselves in vague but actual places, and of rules of 
conduct, true acceptance of which will lead them to a 
tangible, three-dimensional Heaven. In this Heaven, 
if one has been born in a district where fish frys are 
popular, the angels do have magnificent fish frys 
through an eternity somewhat resembling a series of 
earthly holidays. The Lord Jehovah will be the prom- 
ised comforter, a just but compassionate patriarch, the 
summation of all the virtues His follower has observed 
in the human beings about him. The Lord may look 

M 



AUTHOR'S NOTE 



like the Reverend Mr. Dubois as our Sunday School 
teacher speculates in the play, or he may resemble 
another believer's own grandfather. In any event, His 
face will be familiar to the one who has come for 
his reward. 

The author is indebted to Mr. Roark Bradford, whose 
retelling of several of the Old Testament stories in 
"01' Man Adam an' His Chillun" first stimulated his 
interest in this point of view. 

One need not blame a hazy memory of the Bible 
for the failure to recall the characters of Hezdrel, Zeba 
and others in the play. They are the author's apoc- 
rypha, but he believes persons much like them have 
figured in the meditations of some of the old Negro 
preachers, whose simple faith he has tried to translate 
into a play. 



OC1 



THE GREEN PASTURES 
PART ONE 



PART ONE 
Scene I 

A corner in a Negro church. 

Ten children and an elderly preacher. 

The costumes are those that might be seen in any 
lower Louisiana town at Sunday-School time. As the 
curtain rises, Mr. Deshee, the preacher, is reading from 
a Bible. The Children are listening with varied de< 
grees of interest. Three or four are wide-eyed in theif 
attention. Two or three are obviously puzzled, but 
interested, and the smallest ones are engaged in more 
physical concerns. One is playing with a little doll, 
and another runs his finger on all the angles of his 
chair. 

DESHEE 

"An' Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, an' 
begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; an' 
called his name Seth. An' de days of Adam, after he 
had begotten Seth, were eight hundred years; an' he 
begat sons an' daughters; an' all de days dat Adam 
lived were nine hundred an' thirty years; an' he died. 
An' Seth lived a hundred an' five years an' begat Enos; 
an' Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred an' 
seven years and begat sons and daughters. An' all de 
days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; an' 

m 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

he died." An' it go on like dat till we come to Enoch 
an' de book say: "An' Enoch lived sixty an' five years 
and begat Methuselah." Den it say: "An' all de days 
of Methuselah were nine hund'ed an' sixty an' nine 
years an' he died." An' dat was de oldest man dat 
ever was. Dat's why we call ol' Mr. Gurney's mammy 
ol' Mrs. Methuselah, caize she's so ol'. Den a little 
later it tell about another member of de fam'ly. His 
name was Noah. Maybe some of you know about him 
already. I'm gonter tell you all about him next Sun- 
day. Anyway dat's de meat an' substance of de first 
five chapters of Genesis. Now, how you think you 
gonter like de Bible? 

MYRTLE 

I think it's jest wonderful, Mr. Deshee. I cain't 
understand any of it. 

FIRST BOY 

Why did dey live so long, Mr. Deshee ? 

DESHEE 

Why? Caize dat was de way God felt. 

SECOND BOY 

Dat made Adam a way back. 

DESHEE 

Yes, he certainly 'way back by de time Noah come 
along. Want to ask me any mo' questions ? 

Ill 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

SECOND BOY 

What de worl' look like when de Lawd begin, Mr. 
Deshee? 

DESHEE 

How yo' mean what it look like? 

MYRTLE 

Carlisle mean who was in N'Orleans den. 

DESHEE 

Dey wasn't nobody in N'Orleans on 'count dey wasn't 
any N'Orleans, Dat's de whole idea I tol' you at de 
end of de first Chapter. Yo' got to git yo' minds fixed. 
Dey wasn't any Rampart Street. Dey wasn't any Canal 
Street. Dey wasn't any Louisiana. Dey wasn't nothin' 
on de earth at all caize fo' de reason dey wasn't any 
earth. 

MYRTLE 

Yes, but what Carlisle wanter know is — 

DESHEE 

^Interrupting and addressing little boy who has been 
playing with his chair and paying no attention?^ Now 
Randolph, if you don't listen, how yo' gonter grow up 
and be a good man? Yo' wanter grow up an' be a 
transgressor? 

C 5 3 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

LITTLE BOY 

[Frightened '.] No. 

DESHEE 

You tell yo' mammy yo' sister got to come wid you 
next time. She kin git de things done in time to 
bring you to de school. You content yo'self. 

[The little boy straightens up in his chair.^ 

Now, what do Carlisle want to know ? 

CARLISLE 

How he decide he want de worl' to be right yere 
and how he git de idea he wanted it ? 

MYRTLE 

Caize de Book say, don't it, Mr. Deshee? 

DESHEE 

De Book say, but at de same time dat's a good ques- 
tion. I remember when I was a little boy de same 
thing recurred to me. An' oP Mr. Dubois, he was a 
wonderful preacher at New Hope Chapel over in East 
Gretna, he said: "De answer is dat de Book ain't got 
time to go into all de details." And he was right. 
You know sometimes I think de Lawd expects us to 
figure out a few things for ourselves. We know that 
at one time dey wasn't anything except Heaven, we 
don't know jest where it was but we know it was 

162 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

derc. Maybe it was everywhere. Den one day de 
Lawd got the idea he'd like to make some places. He 
made de sun and de moon, de stars. An' he made de 
earth. 

MYRTLE 

Who was aroun' den, nothin' but angels? 

DESHEE 

I suppose so, 

FIRST BOY 

What was de angels doin' up dere? 

DESHEE 

I suppose dey jest flew aroun' and had a good time. 
Dey wasn't no sin, so dey musta had a good time. 

FIRST BOY 

Did dey have picnics ? 

DESHEE 

Sho, dey had the nicest kind of picnics. Dey prob- 
ably had fish frys, wid b'iled custard and ten cent 
seegars for de adults. God gives us humans lotsa ideas 
about havin' good times. Maybe dey were things he'd 
seen de angels do. Yes, sir, I bet dey had a fish fry 
every week. 

£71 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

MYRTLE 

Did dey have Sunday School, too? 

DESHEE 

Yes, dey musta had Sunday School for de cherubs. 

MYRTLE 

What did God look like, Mr. Deshee? 

DESHEE 

Well, nobody knows exactly what God looked like. 
But when I was a little boy I used to imagine dat he 
looked like de Reverend Dubois. He was de finest 
looking or man I ever knew. Yes, I used to bet de 
Lawd looked exactly like Mr. Dubois in de days when 
he walked de earth in de shape of a natchel man. 

MYRTLE 

When was dat, Mr. Deshee ? 

DESHEE 

Why, when he was gettin' things started down heah. 
When He talked to Adam and Eve and Noah and 
Moses and all dem. He made mighty men in dem 
days. But aldo they was awful mighty dey always 
knew dat He was beyond dem all. Pretty near one 
o'clock, time fo' you chillun to go home to dinner, but 
before I let you go I wan' you to go over wid me de 

£81] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

main facts of de first lesson. What's de name of de 
book? 

CHILDREN 

Genesis. 

DESHEE 

Dat's right. And what's de other name? 

CHILDREN 

First Book of Moses. 

DESHEE 

Dat's right. And dis yere's Chapter One. 

[The lights begin to dim?} "In de beginnin* God 
created de heaven an' de earth. An' de earth was wid- 
out form an' void. An' de darkness was upon de face 
of de deep." 



Scene II 

In the darkness many voices are heard singing "Rise, 
Shine, Give God The Glory" They sing it gayly and 
rapidly. The lights go up as the second verse ends. 
The chorus is being sung diminuendo by a mixed 
company of angels. That is they are angels in that 
they wear brightly colored robes and have wings pro- 
truding from their backs. Otherwise they loo\ and 
act li\e a company of happy negroes at a fish fry. The 

l9l 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

scene itself is a pre-Creation Heaven with com- 
promises. In the distance is an unbroken stretch of 
blue sky- Companionable varicolored clouds billow 
down to the floor of the stage and roll overhead to the 
branches of a live oak tree which is up left. The tree 
is leafy and dripping with Spanish moss, and with the 
clouds makes a frame for the scene. In the cool shade 
of the tree are the usual appurtenances of a fish fry; a 
large k ctt ^ e of hot fat set on two small parallel logs, 
with a fire going underneath, and a large rustic table 
formed by driving four stakes into the ground and 
placing planks on top of the small connecting boards. 
On the table are piles of biscuits and corn bread and 
the cooked fish in dish pans. There are one or two 
fairly large cedar or crock "churns" containing boded 
custard, which looks Hk c ™Hk- There is a gourd 
dipper beside the churns and several glasses and cups of 
various sizes and shapes from which the custard is 

drunk- 

The principal singers are marching two by two in a 
small area at the r. of the stage. Two Mammy 
Angels are attending to the frying beside the ^<r///<r. 
Behind the table a Man Angel is skinning fish and 
passing them to the cooks- Another is ladling out the 
custard. A Mammy Angel is putting fish on bread for 
a brood of cherubs, and during the first scene they 
seat themselves on a grassy bank upstage. Another 
Mammy Angel is clapping her hands disapprovingly 
and beckoning a laughing Boy Cherub down from a 
cloud a little out of her reach. Another Mammy 

[10] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

Angel is solicitously slapping the bac\ of a girl cherub 
who has a large fish sandwich in her hand and a bone 
in her throat. There is much movement about the 
table, and during the first few minutes several individ- 
uals go up to the table to help themselves to the food 
and drin\. Many of the women angels wear hats and a 
few of the men are smoking cigars. A large boxful is 
on the table. There is much laughter and chatter as the 
music softens, but continues, during the early part of 
the action. The following short scenes are played 
almost simultaneously. 

first cook [At Kettle^ 

[Calling off.*2 Hurry up, Cajey. Dis yerc fat's 
cryin' fo' mo' feesh. 

A VOICE 

[Off staged We comin', fas' we kin. Dey got to be 
ketched, ain't dey? We cain't say. "C'm'on little fish. 
C'm'on an' git fried," kin we? 

second cook [At Tabled 
De trouble is de mens is all worm fishin'. 

FIRST MAN ANGEL [At Table^ 

Whut dif runce do it make ? Yo' all de time got to 
make out like somebody's doin' somethin' de wrong 
way. 

n«3 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

second cook [Near Table] 
I s'pose you got de per 'fee' way fo' makin' bait. 

FIRST MAN ANGEL 

I ain't sayin' dat. I is sayin' whut's wrong wid worm 
fishin'. 

SECOND COOK 

Whut's wrong wid worm fishin' ? Ever'thing, dat's 
all. Dcy's only one good way fo' catfishin', an' dat's 
minny fishin'. Anybody know dat. 

FIRST MAN ANGEL 

Well, it jest so happen dat minny fishin' is de dog- 
gondest fool way of fishin' dey is. You kin try minny 
fishin' to de cows come home an' all you catch'll be 
de backache. De trouble wid you, sister, is you jest 
got minny fishin' on de brain. 

SECOND COOK 

Go right on, loud mouf . You tell me de news. My, 
my! You jest de wisest person in de worl'. First you, 
den de Lawd God. 

FIRST MAN ANGEL 

[To the custard ladler.] You cain't tell dem nothin'. 
[Wd\s away to the custard churn!] Does you try to 
'splain some simple fac' dey git man-deaf. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

FIRST MAMMY ANGEL 

[To Cherub on the cloudy Now, you heerd me. 
[The Cherub assumes several mocking poses, as she 
spea\s^\ You fly down yere. You wanter be put down 
in de sin book? [She goes to the table, gets a drin\ 
for herself and points out the cherub to one of the men 
behind the tabled Dat baby must got imp blood in 
him he so vexin'. [She returns to her position under 
the cloudy You want me to fly up dere an' slap you 
down? Now, I toF you. [The Cherub starts to come 
down. 2 

STOUT ANGEL 

[To the Cherub with a bone in her throat^ I toP 
you you was too little fo' cat fish. What you wanter git 
a bone in yo' froat f o' ? She slaps the Cherub's bac\^\ 

SLENDER ANGEL 

[Leisurely eating a sandwich as she watches the bach^ 
slapping.*} What de trouble wid Leonetta? 

STOUT ANGEL 

She got a catfish bone down her froat. [To the 
Cherub.] Doggone, I toP you to eat grinnel instead. 

SLENDER ANGEL 

Efn she do git all dat et, she gonter have de belly- 
ache. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

STOUT ANGEL 

Ain't I toF her dat? [To Cherub.] Come on now; 
let go dat bone. [She slaps Cherub's bac\ again. The 
bone is dislodged and the Cherub grins her reliefs 
Dat's good. 

SLENDER ANGEL 

[Comfortingly.} Now she all right. 

STOUT ANGEL 

Go on an' play wid yo' cousins. [The Cherub joins 
the Cherubs sitting on the embankment. The concur- 
rency of scenes ends here.} I ain't sec you lately, Lily. 
How you been ? 

SLENDER ANGEL 

Me, I'm fine. I been visfcin' my mammy. She 
waitin' on de welcome table over by de throne of grace. 

STOUT ANGEL 

She always was pretty holy. 

SLENDER ANGEL 

Yes, ma'am. She like it dere. I guess de Lawd's took 
quite a fancy to her. 

STOUT ANGEL 

Well, dat's natural. I declare yo' mammy one of de 
finest lady angels I know. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

SLENDER ANGEL 

She claim you de best one she know. 

STOUT ANGEL 

Well, when you come right down to it, I suppose we 
is all pretty near perfec'. 

SLENDER ANGEL 

Yes, ma'am. Why is dat, Mis' Jenny? 

STOUT ANGEL 

I s'pose it's caize de Lawd he don' 'low us 'sociatin' 
wid de devil any mo' so dat dey cain' be no mo' sinnin'. 

SLENDER ANGEL 

Po' ol' Satan. Whutevah become of him? 

STOUT ANGEL 

De Lawd put him some place I s'pose. 

SLENDER ANGEL 

But dey ain't any place but Heaven, is dey ? 

STOUT ANGEL 

De Lawd could make a place, couldn't he? 

SLENDER ANGEL 

Dat's de truth. Dey's one thing confuses me though. 

ri5i 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

STOUT ANGEL 

What's dat? 

SLENDER ANGEL 

I do a great deal of travelin' an' I ain't never come 
across any place but Heaven anywhere. So if de Lawd 
kick Satan out of Heaven jest whereat did he go? Dat's 
my question. 

STOUT ANGEL 

You bettah let de Lawd keep his own secrets, Lily. 
De way things is goin' now dey ain't been no sinnin' 
since dey give dat scamp a kick in de pants. Nowadays 
Heaven's free of sin an' if a lady wants a little con- 
stitutional she kin fly 'til she wing-weary widout gittin' 
insulted. 

SLENDER ANGEL 

I was jest a baby when Satan lef . I don't even 'mem- 
ber what he look like. 

STOUT ANGEL 

He was jest right fo' a devil. \jin Archangel enters. 
He is older than the others and wears a white beard. 
His clothing is much darker than that of the others and 
his wings a trifle more imposing.*} Good mo'nin', 
Archangel. 

^Others say good morning?} 

on 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

ARCHANGEL 

Good mo'nin', folks. I wonder kin I interrupt de fish 
fry an' give out de Sunday school cyards? [Cries of 
"Suttingly!" "Mah goodness, yes" — etc. The marching 
Choir stops.*} You kin keep singin' if you want to. 
Why don' you sing "When de Saints Come Marchin' 
In?" Seem to me I ain' heard dat lately. [The Choir 
begins "When the Saints Come Marching In 9 , 9 rather 
softly, but does not resume marching. The Archangel 
looks off left.} All right, bring 'em yere. [A prim 
looking Woman Teacher-Angel enters, shepherding 
ten Boy and Girl Cherubs. The Teacher carries ten 
beribboned diplomas, which she gives to the Arch- 
angel. The cherubs are dressed in stiffly starched 
white suits and dresses, the little girls having enor- 
mous ribbons at the bac\s of their dresses and smaller 
ones in their hair and on the tips of their wings. They 
line up in front of the archangel and receive the at- 
tention of the rest of the company. The Choir sings 
through the ceremony7\ Now den cherubs, why is you 
yere ? 

children 
Because we so good. 

ARCHANGEL 

Dat's right. Now who de big boss? 

Ci73 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

CHILDREN 

Our dear Lawd. 

ARCHANGEL 

Dat's right. When you all grow up what you gonter 
be? 

CHILDREN 

Holy angels at de throne of grace. 

ARCHANGEL 

Dat's right. Now, you passed yo' 'xaminations and 
it gives me great pleasure to hand out de cyards for de 
whole class. Gineeva Chaproe. [The First Girl 
Cherub goes to him and gets her diploma. The Choir 
sings loudly and resumes marching, as the Archangel 
calls out another name — and presents diplomas?] 
Corey Moulter. [[Second Girl Cherub gets her 
diploma.*] Nootzie Winebush. [[Third Girl Cherub.] 
Harriet Prancy. [[Fourth Girl Cherub.] I guess you 
is Brozain Stew't. [He gives the Fifth Girl Cherub 
the paper. Each of the presentations has been accom- 
panied by hand-clapping from the bystanders.] Now 
you boys know yo' own names. Suppose you come yere 
and help me git dese 'sorted right ? 

[[Boy Cherubs gather about him and receive their 
diplomas. The little Girls have scattered about 
the stage, joining groups of the adult angels. 

erf] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

The angel Gabriel enters. He is bigger and 
more elaborately winged than even the Arch- 
angel, but he is also much younger and beard- 
less. His costume is less conventional than that 
of the other men, resembling more the Gabriel 
of the Dore drawings. His appearance causes a 
flutter among the others. They stop their chat- 
tering with the children. The Choir stops as 
three or four audible whispers of "Gabriel!" are 
heard. In a moment the heavenly company is 
all attention^} 

GABRIEL 

\JJfting his handr\ Gangway! Gangway for de 
Lawd God Jehovah! 

\There is a reverent hush and God enters. He is 
the tallest and biggest of them all. He wears a 
white shirt with a white bow tie, a long Prince 
Albert coat of blac\ alpaca, blac\ trousers and 
congress gaiters. He loo\s at the assemblage. 
There is a pause. He speakj in a rich, bass voiced 

GOD 

Is you been baptized ? 

OTHERS 

\Chanting^\ Certainly, Lawd. 

Dp] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Is you been baptized ? 

OTHERS 

Certainly, Lawd. 

GOD 

[With the beginning of musical notation.*} Is you 
been baptized? 

OTHERS 

[Now half-singing.} Certainly, Lawd. Certainly, 
certainly, certainly, Lawd. 

[They sing the last two verses with equivalent 
part division!} 

Is you been redeemed? 

Certainly, Lawd. 
Is you been redeemed? 

Certainly, Lawd. 
Is you been redeemed? 
Certainly, Lawd. Certainly, certainly, 
certainly, Lawd. 

Do you bow mighty low ? 

Certainly, Lawd. 
Do you bow mighty low ? 

Certainly, Lawd. 
Do you bow mighty low ? 

Certainly, Lawd. Certainly, certainly, 
certainly, Lawd. 

[20] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

\\As the last response ends all heads are bowed. 
God loohj at them for a moment; then lifts His 
hand.*} 

GOD 

Let de fish fry proceed. 

[[Everyone rises. The Angels relax and resume 
their inaudible conversations. The activity be- 
hind the table and about the cauldron is resumed. 
Some of the choir members cross to the table and 
get sandwiches and cups of the boiled custard. 
Three or four of the children in the Sunday 
School class and the little girl who had the bone 
in her throat affectionately group themselves 
about God as he spea\s with the Archangel. He 
pats their heads, they hang to his coat-tails, etc.} 

ARCHANGEL 

Good mo'nin', Lawd. 

GOD 

Good mo'nin', Deacon. You lookin' pretty spry. 

ARCHANGEL 

I cain' complain. We just been givin' our cyards to 
de chillun. 

GOD 

Dat's good. 

\ji small Cherub, his feet braced against one of 
God's shoes is using God's coat tail as a trapeze. 

on 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

One of the Cooks offers a fish sandwich which 
God politely declines!} 

FIRST MAMMY ANGEL 

Now, you leave go de Lawd's coat, Herman. You 
heahme? 

GOD 

Dat's all right, sister. He jest playin\ 

FIRST MAMMY ANGEL 

He playin' too rough. 
£God pic\s up the cherub and span\s him good- 
naturedly. The Cherub squeals with delight 
and runs to his mother. Gabriel advances to 
God with a glass of the custard.*} 

GABRIEL 

Little b'iled custud, Lawd ? 

GOD 

Thank you very kindly. Dis looks nice. 

CUSTARD MAKER 

^Offering a box.*} Ten cent seegar, Lawd ? 

GOD 

\^Ta\ing it!} Thank you, thank you. How de fish 
fry goin'? \^Ad lib. cries of "O. K. Lawd," "Fine an' 

on 



THE GREEN PASTURES 



dandy, Lawd," "De best one yit, Lawd," etc. To the 
choir. J How you shouters gittin' on? 

CHOIR LEADER 

We been marchin' and singin' de whole mo'nin'. 

GOD 

I heerd you. You gittin' better all de time. You 
gittin' as good as de one at de throne. Why don' you 
give us one dem ol' time jump-ups ? 

CHOIR LEADER 

Anythin' you say, Lawd. [To the others.^ "So 
High!" 

[The Choir begins to sing "So High You Can't 
Get Over It." They sing softly, but do not 
march. An Angel offers his cigar to God from 
which He can light His own. 2 

GOD 

No, thanks. I'm gonter save dis a bit. 

[He puts the cigar in his pocket and listens to the 
singers a moment. Then he sips his custard. 
After the second sip, a loo\ of displeasure comes 
on his face7\ 

GABRIEL 

What's de matter, Lawd? 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

{Sipping again r\ I ain't jest sure, yit. Dey's some- 
thing 'bout dis custahd. \Ta\es another sip^\ 

CUSTARD MAKER 

Ain't it all right, Lawd ? 

GOD 

It don't seem seasoned jest right. You make it? 

CUSTARD MAKER 

Yes, Lawd. I put everythin' in it like I alius do. 
It's supposed to be perf ec'. 

GOD 

Yeah. I kin taste de eggs and de cream and de sugar. 
{Suddenly \\ I know what it is. It needs jest a little 
bit mo' firmament. 

CUSTARD MAKER 

Dey's firmament in it, Lawd. 

GOD 

Maybe, but it ain' enough. 

CUSTARD MAKER 

It's all we had, Lawd. Dey ain't a drap in de jug. 

on 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Dat's all right. I'll jest r'ar back an* pass a miracle. 
[Xhoir stops singing. 2 Let it be some firmament! 
An' when I say let it be some firmament, I don't want 
jest a little bitty dab o' firmament caize I'm sick an' 
tired of runnin' out of it when we need it. Let it be a 
whole mess of firmament! \Thc stage has become 
misty until God and the heavenly company are ob- 
scured. As he finishes the speech there is a burst of 
thunder. As the stage grows darker.*} Dat's de way 
I like it. 

^Murmurs from the others; "Dot's a lot of firma- 
ment." "My, dat is firmamentl" "Loo\ to me 
like he's created rain" etc.^ 

FIRST MAMMY ANGEL 

\When the stage is dar\7\ Now, look Lawd, dat's 
too much firmament. De Cherubs is gettin' all wet. 

SECOND MAMMY ANGEL 

Look at my Carlotta, Lawd. She's soaked to de 
skin. Dat's plenty too much firmament. 

GOD 

Well, 'co'se we don't want de chillun to ketch cold. 
Can't you dreen it off? 

GABRIEL 

Dey's no place to dreen it, Lawd. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

FIRST MAMMY ANGEL 

Why don't we jest take de babies home, Lawd? 

GOD 

No, I don' wanta bust up de fish fry. You angels 
keep quiet an I'll pass another miracle. Dat's always 
de trouble wid miracles. When you pass one you 
always gotta r'ar back an' pass another. [There is a 
hushr\ Let dere be a place to dreen off dis firmament- 
Let dere be mountains and valleys an' let dere be oceans 
an' lakes. An' let dere be rivers and bayous to dreen it 
off in, too. As a matter of fac' let dere be de earth. An* 
when dat's done let dere be de sun, an' let it come out 
and dry my Cherubs' wings. 

[The lights go up until the stage is bathed in sun- 
light. On the embankment upstage there is now 
a waist-high wrought iron railing such as one 
sees on the galleries of houses in the French 
quarter of New Orleans. The Cherubs are be- 
ing examined by their parents and there is an ad 
lib. murmur of, "You all right, honey?" "You 
feel better now, Albert?" "Now you all dry, 
Vangy?" until the Archangel, who has been 
gazing in awe at the railing, drowns them out^\ 

T i i ARCHANGEL 

Look yere ! 

[There is a rush to the emban\ment accompanied 
by exclamations, "My goodness!" "What's dis?" 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

"I declah!" etc. Gabriel towers above the group 
on the middle of the emban\ment. God is 
wrapped in thought, facing the audience. The 
Choir resumes singing "So High You Cant Get 
Over It" softly. The babbling at the balustrade 
dies away as the people lean over the railing. 
Gabriel turns and faces God indicating the earth 
below the railing with his left hand^\ 

GABRIEL 

Do you see it, Lawd ? 

GOD 

^Quietly, without turning his head upstage.^ Yes, 
Gabriel. 

GABRIEL 

Looks mighty nice, Lawd. 

GOD 

Yes. 

[[Gabriel turns and loo\s over the railing^ 

GABRIEL 

{Gazing down. 2 Yes, suh. Dat'd make mighty nice 
farming country. Jest look at dat South forty over 
dere. You ain't going to let dat go to waste is you, 
Lawd ? Dat would be a pity an' a shame. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

[Not turning.*] It's a good earth. [God turns, room 
is made for him beside Gabriel on the embankment!] 
Yes. I ought to have somebody to enjoy it. [He turns, 
facing the audience. The others, save for the choir who 
are lined up in two rows of six on an angle up right, 
continue to loo\ over the embankment.] Gabriel! 
[God steps down from the embankment two paces!] 

GABRIEL 

[Joining him.] Yes, Lawd. 

GOD 

Gabriel, I'm goin' down dere. 

GABRIEL 

Yes, Lawd. 

GOD 

I want you to be my working boss yere while I'm 
gone. 

GABRIEL 

Yes, Lawd. 

GOD 

You know dat matter of dem two stars? 

GABRIEL 

Yes, Lawd. 

[28: 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Git dat fixed up! You know dat sparrow dat fell a 
little while ago ? 'Tend to dat, too. 

GABRIEL 

Yes, Lawd. 

GOD 

I guess dat's about all. I'll be back Saddy. [To the 
Choir.] Quiet, angels. [The Choir stops singing. 
Those on the embankment circle down stage. God 
goes to embankment. Turns and faces the company ?\ 
I'm gonter pass one more miracle. You all gonter help 
me an' not make a soun' caize it's one of de most im- 
po'tant miracles of all. [Nobody moves. God turns, 
facing the sky and raises his arms above his head^\ 
Let there be man. 

[There is growing roll of thunder as stage grows 
dar\. The Choir bursts into "Hallelujah" and 
continues until the lights go up on the next 
scene.2 



Scene III 

Enclosing the stage is a heterogeneous cluster of Cot- 
tonwood, camphor, live oa\ and sycamore trees, 
youpon and turkey berry bushes, with their purple and 
red berries, sprays of fern-li\e indigo fiera and splashes 
of various Louisiana flowers. In the middle of the 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

stage, disclosed when the mistiness at rise grows into 
warm sunlight, stands Adam. He is a puzzled man of 
30, of medium height, dressed in the clothing of the 
average field hand. He is bare-headed. In the distance 
can be heard the choir continuing. "Bright Mansions 
Above!' A bird begins to sing. Adam smiles and 
turns to look, at the source of this novel sound. He 
senses his strength and raises his forearms, his fists 
clenched. With his left hand he carefully touches 
the muscles of his upper right arm. He smiles again, 
realizing his power. He loo\s at his feet which are 
stretched uncle apart. He stamps once or twice and 
now almost laughs in his enjoyment. Other birds be- 
gin trilling and Adam glances up joyfully toward 
the foliage. God enters. 

GOD 

Good monin', Son. 

ADAM 

\With a little a we. J Good mo'nin', Lawd. 

GOD 

What's yo' name, Son? 

ADAM 

Adam. 

GOD 

Adam which? 

cson 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

ADAM 

^Frankly, after a moment's puzzled groping.^ Jest 
Adam, Lawd. 

GOD 

Well, Adam, how dey treatin' you? How things 
goin' ? 

ADAM 

Well, Lawd, you know it's kind of a new line of 
wukk. 

GOD 

You'll soon get de hang of it. You know yo' kind 
of a new style with me. 

ADAM 

Oh, I guess I'm gonter make out all right soon as I 
learn de ropes. 

GOD 

Yes, I guess you will. Yo' a nice job. 

ADAM 

Yes, Lawd. 

GOD 

Dey's jest one little thing de matter with you. Did 
you notice it? 

ADAM 

Well, now you mentioned it, Lawd, I kind of thought 
dey was somethin' wrong. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Yes suh, you ain't quite right. Adam, you need a 
family. De reason for dat is in yo' heart you is a family 
man. [Flickjng the ash off his cigar. 2 I'd say dat was 
de main trouble at de moment. 

ADAM 

[Smiling.*} Yes sir. [His smile fades and he is 
puzzled a gain. J At de same time — dey's one thing 
puzzlin' me, Lawd. Could I ask you a question? 

GOD 

Why, certainly, Adam. 

ADAM 

Lawd, jest what is a family ? 

GOD 

I'm gonter show you. [Indicates a spot^\ Jest lie 
down dere, Adam. Make out like you was goin' to 
slumber. 

ADAM 

[Gently. 2 Yes, Lawd. 
[He lies down. God stands beside him and as he 
raises his arms above his head the lights go 
down. In the darkness God spea\s^\ 

GOD 

Eve. [Lights go up. Eve is standing beside Adam. 
She is about twenty-six, and quite pretty. She is 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

dressed li\e a country girl. Her gingham dress is 
quite new and clean. God is now at the other side 
of the stage, looking at them critically. Eve looks at 
Adam in timid wonder and slowly turns her head until 
she meets the glance of God. Adam stands beside Eve. 
They gaze at each other for a moment. God smiles!^ 
Now you all right, Eve. [[Adam and Eve face him^\ 
Now I'll tell you what I'm gonter do. I'm gonter put 
you in charge here. I'm gonter give you de run of dis 
whole garden. Eve, you take care of dis man an' Adam 
you take care of dis woman. You belong to each other. 
I don' want you to try to do too much caize yo' both 
kind of experiment wid me an' I ain't sho' whether you 
could make it. You two jest enjoy yo'self. Drink de 
water from de little brooks an' de wine from de grapes 
an' de berries, an' eat de food dat's hangin' for you in de 
trees. \He pauses, startled by a painful thought^ Dat 
is, in all but one tree. \He pauses. Then, not 
looking at them.*} You know what I mean, my 
children? 

ADAM AND EVE 

Yes, Lawd. [They slowly turn their heads left, to- 
ward the branches of an oflstage tree. Then they loo\ 
bac\ at God.]] 

ADAM 

Thank you, Lawd. 

[33: 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

EVE 

Thank you, Lawd. 

GOD 

I gotter be gittin' along now. I got a hund'ed 
thousan' things to do 'fo' you take yo' nex' breath. 

Enjoy yo'selves 

£God exits.] 

£Adam and Eve stand looking after Him for a 
moment, then each lookj down and watches 
their hands meet and clasps 
[After a moment they lift their heads slowly until 
they are again gazing at the tree.] 

EVE 

Adam. 

ADAM 

[Looking at the tree, almost in terror.*] What? 

EVE 

[Softly as she too continues to loo\ at the tree.] 
Adam. 

[The Choir begins singing "Turn You Round' 1 
and as the lights go down the Choir continues 
until there is blackness. The Choir suddenly 
stops. . The following scene is played in the 
darkness.] 

MR. DESHEE's VOICE 

Now, I spose you chillun know what happened 
after God made Adam n' Eve. Do you ? 

IT 34 3 



THE GREEN PASTURES 



FIRST GIRL'S VOICE 



I know, Mr. Deshee. 

MR. DESHEE's VOICE 

Jest a minute, Randolph. Didn't I tell you you gotta 
tell yo' mammy let yo' sister bring you. Carlisle, take 
way dat truck he's eatin'. You sit by him, see kin you 
keep him quiet. Now, den, Myrtle what happened ? 

FIRST GIRL'S VOICE 

Why, den dey ate de fo'bidden fruit and den dey 
got driv' out de garden. 



MR. DESHEE's VOICE 



An' den what happened? 

FIRST GIRL'S VOICE 

Den dey felt ver bad. 

MR. DESHEE's VOICE 

I don' mean how dey feel, I mean how dey do. Do 
dey have any children or anything like dat? 

FIRST GIRL'S VOICE 

Oh, yes, suh, dey have Cain 'n' Abel. 

MR. DESHEE's VOICE 

Dat's right, dey have Cain an' Abel. 

[35H 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

boy's voice 
Dat was a long time after dey got married, wasn't 
it, Mr. Deshee? My mammy say it was a hund'ed 
years. 

MR. DESHEe's VOICE 

Well, nobody kin be so sure. As I tol' you befo' dey 
was jest beginnin' to be able to tell de time an' nobody 
was any too sure 'bout anythin' even den. So de bes' 
thing to do is jest realize dat de thing happened an' 
don't bother 'bout how many years it was. Jest remem- 
ber what I told you about it gittin' dark when you go 
to sleep an' it bein' light when you wake up. Dat's de 
way time went by in dem days. One thing we do know 
an' dat was dis boy Cain was a mean rascal. 

[The lights go up on the next scene.*] 



Scene IV 

A roadside. 

Cain, a husky young Negro, stands over the body 
of the dead Abel. Both are dressed as laborers. Cain 
is looking at the body in awe, a roc\ in his right hand. 
God enters. 

GOD 

Cain, look what you done to Abel. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

CAIN 

Lawd, I was min'in' my own business and he come 
monkeyin' aroun' wit' me. I was wukkin' in de fieP an* 
he was sittin' in de shade of de tree. He say "Me, I'd 
be skeered to git out in dis hot sun. I be 'fraid my 
brains git cooked. Co'se you ain't got no brains so 
you ain' in no danger." An' so I up and flang de rock. 
If it miss 'im all right, an' if it hit 'im, all right. Dat's 
de way I feel. 

GOD 

All right, but I'm yere to tell you dat's called a crime. 
When de new Judge is done talkin' to you you'll be 
draggin' a ball and chain de rest of yo' life. 

CAIN 

Well, what'd he want to come monkeyin' aroun' me 
fo' den? I was jest plowin', min'in' my own business, 
and not pay in' him no min', and yere he come makin' 
me de fool. I'd bust anybody what make me de fool. 

GOD 

Well, I ain't sayin' you right an' I ain't sayin' you 
wrong. But I do say was I you I'd jest git myself down 
de road 'til I was clean out of de county. An' you 
better take an' git married an' settle down an' raise 
some chillun. Dey ain't nothin' to make a man fo'git 
his troubles like raisin' a family. Now, you better git. 

C373 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

CAIN 

Ycssuh. 

£Cain walks off.] 

[God watches him from the forestage and as the 
lights begin to dim looks off . The Choir begins 
"Run, Sinner, Run." 

GOD 

Adam an' Eve you better try again. You better have 
Seth an' a lot mo' chillun. 

[There is darkness. The Choir continues until the 
lights go up on the next scene.*] 



Scene V 

Cain is discovered walking on an unseen treadmill. 
A middle distance of trees, hillsides and shrubbery 
passes him on an upper treadmill. Behind is the blue 
sky. He stops under the branches of a tree to look a * 
a sign on a fence railing. Only half the tree is visible 
on the stage. The sign reads, "Nod Parish. County 
Line." 

CAIN 

[Sitting down with a sigh of relief under the tree.] 
At las'! Phew! [Wipes his forehead with a handker- 
chief?] Feels like I been walkin' fo'ty years. [He 
looks back-] Well, dey cain' git me now. Now I kin 

C38H 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

raise a fam'ly. {An idea occurs to him, and suddenly 
he begins looking right and left^\ Well, I'll be hit by 
a mule! Knock me down for a trustin' baby! Where 
I gonter git dat fam'ly ? Dat preacher fooled me. {He 
is quite dejected^ Doggone! 

cain's girl 

{Off stage r\ Hello, Country Boy! 

£Cain glances up to the offstage branches of the 
tree.*2 

CAIN 

Hey-ho, Good lookin'! Which way is it to town? 

cain's girl 
{Off stage r\ What you tryin' to do ? You tryin' to 
mash me? I be doggone if it ain't gittin' so a gal 
cain't hardly leave de house 'out some of dese fast men 
ain' passin' remarks at her. 

CAIN 

I ain' passin' remarks. 

cain's girl 
{Off staged If I thought you was tryin' to mash 
me, I'd call de police an' git you tooken to de first 
precinct. 

CAIN 

Look yere, gal, I ast you a question, an' if you don" 
answer me I'm gonter bend you 'cross my pants an' 
burn you up. 

t39l 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

cain's girl 
[Off stage.*} I'm comin' down, 
£Cain tat^es his eyes from the tree!} 

CAIN 

Yes, an' you better hurry. 

^Cain's Girl enters. She is as large as Cain, 
wickedly pretty, and somewhat flashily dressed. 
She smiles at Cain.] 

cain's cirl 

I bet you kin handle a gal mean wid dem big stout 
arms of your'n. I sho' would hate to git you mad at 
me, Country Boy. 

CAIN 

[Smiling!} Come yerc. [She goes a little closer to 
him.} Don't be 'fraid, I ain' so mean. 

cain's girl 
You got two bad lookin' eyes. I bet yo' hot coffee 
'mong de women folks. 

CAIN 

I ain' never find out. What was you doin' in dat 
tree? 

cain's girl 
Jest coolin' myself in de element. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

CAIN 

Is you a Nod Parish gal ? 

cain's girl 
Bo'n an' bred. 

CAIN 

You know yo' kinda pretty. 

cain's girl 
Who toP you dat? 

CAIN 

Dese yere two bad eyes of mine. 

cain's girl 
I bet you say dat to everybody all de way down de 
road. 

CAIN 

Comin' down dat road I didn't talk to nobody. 

cain's girl 
Where you boun' for, Beautiful ? 

CAIN 

I'm jest seein' de country. I thought I might settle 
down yere f o' a spell. You live wit' yo' people ? 

cain's girl 
Co'se I does. 

C40 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

CAIN 

'Spose dey'd like to take in a boarder? 

cain's girl 
Be nice if dey would, wouldn' it? 

CAIN 

I think so. You got a beau? 

CAIN'S GIRL 

Huh-uh! 

CAIN 

[Smiling^ You has now. 

cain's girl 

I guess — I guess if you wanted to kiss me an' I tried 
to stop you, you could pretty nearly crush me wit' dem 
stout arms. 

CAIN 

You wouldn't try too much, would you? 

cain's girl 
Maybe for a little while. 

CAIN 

An' den what ? 

cain's girl 
Why don' we wait an' see ? 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

CAIN 

When would dat be? 

cain's girl 
Tonight. After supper. Think you kin walk a little 
further now, City Boy ? 

CAIN 

Yeh, I ain't so weary now. 
[She ta\es his hand.} 

cain's girl 
What yo' name? [Takes his arm.} 

CAIN 

Cain. 

cain's girl 

Then I'm Cain's Gal. Come on, honey, an' meet de 
folks. 

[They exit.*} 

[The choir is heard singing "You Better Mind," 
as God enters. God watches the vanished Cain 
and his girl.} 

GOD 

[After sha\ing his head.} Bad business. I don' like 
de way things is goin' atall. 
[The stage is darkened.} 

[The Choir continues singing until the lights go 
up on the next scene.} 



THE GREEN PASTURES 



Scene VI 

God's private office in Heaven. It is a small room, 
framed by tableau curtains. A large window up cen- 
ter loohj out on the sky. There is a battered roll-top 
des\. On the wall next to the window is a framed 
religious oleograph with a calendar attached to it 
underneath. A door is at the left. A hat rac\ is on 
the wall above the door. There are two or three cheap 
pine chairs beside the window, and beyond the door. 
In front of the des\ is an old swivel armchair which 
creakj every time God leans bach^ in it. The des\ is 
open and various papers are stuc\ in the pigeonholes. 
Writing implements, etc. are on the des\. On a shelf 
above the des\ is a row of law boohj. A cuspidor is 
near the des\, and a waste basket by it. The general 
atmosphere is that of the office of a Negro lawyer in a 
Louisiana town. As the lights go up God ta\es a fresh 
cigar from a box on the des\ and begins puffing it with- 
out bothering to light it. There is no comment on this 
minor miracle from Gabriel who is sitting in one of 
the chairs with a pencil and several papers in his hand. 
The singing becomes pianissimo. 

GABRIEL 

[Looking at the papers^] Well, I guess dat's about 
all de impo'tant business this mornin', Lawd. 

IT 44 3 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

How 'bout dat Cherub over to Archangel Mont- 
gomery's house ? 

GABRIEL 

Where do dey live, Lawd ? 
[The singing stops^\ 

\ GOD 

Dat little two story gold house, over by de pearly 
gates. 

GABRIEL 

Oh, dat Montgomery. I thought you was referrin' 
to de oF gentleman. Oh, yeh. [He sorts through the 
papers and finds one he is looking for7\ Yere it 'tis. 
[Reads r\ "Cherub Christina Montgomery; wings is 
moltin' out of season an' nobody knows what to do." 

GOD 

Well, now, take keer of dat. You gotter be more 
careful, Gabe. 

GABRIEL 

Yes, Lawd. 
[Folds the papers and puts them in a poc\et. God 
turns to his desk, takes another puff or two of 
the cigar, and with a pencil, begins checking off 
items on a sheet of paper before him. His back 
is turned toward Gabriel. Gabriel takes his 
trumpet from the hat rack and burnishes it with 

C45H 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

his robe. He then wets his lips and puts the 
mouthpiece to his mouthy 

GOD 

[Without turning around^] Now, watch yo'self, 
GabricL 

GABRIEL 

I wasn't goin' to blow, LawiL I jest do dat every 
now an' den so I can keep dc fed of it. 

[He leans trumpet against the wall. God pickj up 
the papers and swings his chair around toward 
Gabriel.] 

GOD 

What's dis ycre about de moon? 

GABRIEL 

[Suddenly remembering.] Oh! De moon people 
say it's beginnin' to melt a little, on 'count caize de sun's 
so hot. 

GOD 

It's goin' 'roun' 'cordin' to schedule, ain't it? 

GABRIEL 

Yes, Lawd. 

GOD 

Well, tell 'em to stop groanin'. Dere's nothin' de 
matter wid dat moon. Trouble is so many angels is 
flyin' over dere on Saddy night. Dey git to beatin' dere 

r 4 63 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

wings when dey dancin' an' dat makes de heat. Tell 
dem dat from now on dancin' 'roun' de moon is sinnin\ 
Dey got to stop it. Dat'll cool off de moon. [He 
swings bac\ and puts the paper on the des\. He leans 
bac\ in the chair comfortably, his hands clasped behind 
his headr\ Is dere anythin' else you ought to remin' 
me of? 

GABRIEL 

De prayers, Lawd. 

GOD 

[Puzzled, slowly swinging chair around again^\ De 
prayers ? 

GABRIEL 

From mankind. You know, down on de earth. 

GOD 

Oh, yeh, de poor little earth. Bless my soul, I almos' 
forgot about dat. Mus' be three or four hund'ed years 
since I been down dere. I wasn't any too pleased wid 
dat job. 

GABRIEL 

[Laughing.^] You know you don' make mistakes, 
Lawd. 

GOD 

[Soberly, with introspective detachment.*} So dey 
tell me. [He loo\s at Gabriel, then through the win- 
dow again.} So dey tell me. I fin' I kin be displeased 
though, an' I was displeased wid de mankind I las' 

r 4 ?: 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

seen. Maybe I ought to go down dere agin — I need a 
little holiday. 

GABRIEL 

Might do you good, Lawd. 

GOD 

I think I will. I'll go down an' walk de earth agin 
an' see how dem poor humans is makin' out. What 
time is it, by de sun an' de stars ? 

GABRIEL 

[Glancing out of the window?] Jest exactly half- 
past, Lawd. 

[God is taking his hat and stic\ from the hat rac\?\ 

GOD 

[Opening the door.] Well, take keer o' yo'self. Ill 
be back Saddy. [He exits.] 

[The stage is darkened. The Choir begins 
"Dere's no Hidin Place," and continues until the 
lights go up on the next scene?} 

Scene VII 

God is walking along a country road. He stops to 
listen. Church bells are heard in the distance. 

GOD 

Dat's nice. Nice an' quiet. Dat's de way I like 
Sunday to be. [The sound is broken by a shrill voice 

C483 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

of a girl. It is Zeba singing a "blues"*} Now, dat ain't 
so good. [[God resumes his wal\ and the upper tread- 
mill brings on a tree stump on which Zeba is sitting. 
She is accompanying her song with a ukulele. God 
and the treadmills stop. When the stump reaches the 
center of the stage, it is seen that Zeba is a rouged and 
extremely flashily dressed chippy of about eighteen!} 
Stop dat! 

zeba 
What's de matter wid you, Country Boy? Pull up 
yo' pants. \^She resumes singing.} 

GOD 

Stop dat! 

ZEBA 

\^Stops again!} Say, listen to me, Banjo Eyes. What 
right you got to stop a lady enjoyin' herself? 

GOD 

Don't you know dis is de Sabbath ? Da's no kin' a' 
song to sing on de Lawd's day. 

ZEBA 

Who care 'bout de Lawd's day, anymo'? People 
jest use Sunday now to git over Saddy. 

GOD 

You a awful sassy little girl. 

C49II 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

ZEBA 

I come fum sassy people! We even speak mean of 
de dead. 

GOD 

What's yo' name ? 

ZEBA 

^Flirtatiously.} "What's my name?" Ain't you de 
ol'-time gal hunter! Fust, "What's my name?" den I 
t'pose, what would it be like if you tried to kiss me? 
You preachers' is de debbils. 

GOD 

I ain't aimin' to touch you daughter. \^A sudden 
sternness frightens Zeba. She lookjs at him sharply.} 
What is yo' name ? 

ZEBA 

Zeba. 

GOD 

Who's yo' fam'ly? 

ZEBA 

I'm de great-great gran' daughter of Seth. 

GOD 

Of Seth ? But Seth was a good man. 

ZEBA 

Yeh, he too good, he die of holiness. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

An' yere's his little gran' daughter reekin' wid 
cologne. Ain't nobody ever toP you yo' on de road to 
Hell? 

ZEBA 

\Smiling^\ Sho' dat's what de preacher say. Ex- 
ceptin' of course, I happens to know dat I'm on de 
road to de picnic groun's, an' at de present time I'm 
waitin' to keep a engagement wid my sweet papa. He 
don' like people talkin' to me. 

£Cain the Sixth enters. He is a young buc\, 
wearing a "box" coat and the other flashy gar- 
ments of a Rampart Street swell.} 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

Hello, sugah! \^He crosses in front of God and faces 
Zeba.] Hello, mamma! Sorry I'm late baby, but de 
gals in de barrel-house jest wouldn't let me go. Dog- 
gone, one little wirehead swore she'd tear me down. 
£Zeba smiles and ta\es his hand.} 

GOD 

What's yo' name, son? 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

^Contemptuously; without turning.*} Soap 'n water, 
Country Boy. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

[Sternly.] What's yo' name, son ? 

£Cain slowly turns and for a moment his manner 
is civil.] 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

Cain the Sixth. 

GOD 

I was afraid so. 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

[His impudence returning.*] You a new preacher ? 

GOD 

Where you live? 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

Me, I live mos' any place. 

GOD 

Yes, an' you gonter see dem all. Is de udder young 
men all like you ? 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

[Smiling.] De gals don' think so. 

[He turns towards Zeba again, pic\s her up and 
sits on the stump with the laughing Zeba on his 
lap.] 

1*1 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

ZEBA 

Dey ain't nobody in de worP like my honey-cake. 
£Cain \isses her and she resumes her song.] 
£God watches them. Zeba finishes a verse of the 
song and begins another softly. Cain the 
Sixth's eyes have been closed during the sing- 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

[His eyes closed.] Is de preacher gone ? 
£Zeba looks quickly at God without seeing him, 
and then looks off. She stops the song.*] 

ZEBA 

Yeh, I guess he walks fast. 

[[Cain pushes her off his lap and rises!] 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

[With acid sweetness?] Dey tell me las' night you 
was talkin' to a creeper man, baby. 

ZEBA 

Why, you know dey ain't nobody in de world fo' me 
but you. 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

[Smiling.] I know dey ain't. I even got dat guar- 
anteed. [Takes a revolver from his poc\et.] See dat, 
baby ? 

C53 3 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

ZEBA 

Sho' I see it, honey. 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

Dat jest makes me positive. [Puts the gun bachj\ 

ZEBA 

[Pushing him bac\ on the stumpy You don' 
wantcr believe dem stories, papa. 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

[With sinister lightness^] No, I didn't believe dem, 
baby. Co'se dat big gorilla, Flatfoot, from de other 
side of de river is in town ag'in. 

ZEBA 

Dat don' mean nothin'. Flatfoot ain't nothin' to me. 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

[Sitting again.^ Co'se he ain't. Go 'head, sing some 
mo', baby. 

£Zeba resumes singing. J 

GOD 

Bad business. [The treadmills start turning. God 
resumes his wall{. Zeba, still singing, and Cain the 
Sixth recede with the landscape. God is again done 
on the country road. There is a twitter of birds. God 
loo\s up and smiles. ] De birds is goin' 'bout dere 

£54:1 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

business, all right. [A patch of flowers goes by, blac\- 
eyed Susans, conspicuously.*} How you flowers makin' 
out? [Children's voices answer, "We O. K., Lawd."} 
Yes, an' you looks very pretty. [Childrens' voices: 
"Than\ you, Lawd." The flowers pass out of sight.} 
It's only de human bein's makes me downhearted. 
Yere's as nice a Sunday as dey is turnin' out anywhere, 
an' nobody makin' de right use of it. [Something 
ahead of him attracts his attention!} His face bright- 
ens.} Well, now dis is mo' like it. Now dat's nice 
to see people prayin'. It's a wonder dey don' do 
it in de church. But I fin' I don' min' it if dey do it 
outdoors. 

[A group of five adult Negroes and a boy on their 
\nees in a semicircle, appears. The treadmills 
stop. The Boy, his head bent, swings his hands 
rhythmically up to his head three or four times. 
There is a hush!} 

GAMBLER 

Oh, Lawd, de smoke-house is empty. Oh, Lawd, 
lemme git dem groceries. Oh, Lawd, lemme see dat 
little six. [He casts the dice.} Wham! Dere she is, 
frien's. 

[Exclamations from the others: "Well damn my 
eyes!" "Doggone, dat's de eighth pass he ma\e." 
"For God's sa\e, can't you ever crap?" etc. The 
Boy is pic\ing up the money!} 

C55: 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Gamblin'! [Loo\s over the group's shoulders?} An' 
wid frozen dice! 

BOY GAMBLER 

Dey's a dollar V a half talkin' fo' me. How much 
you want of it, Riney ? 

MRST GAMBLKR 

I take fo 1 bits. Wait a minute. Mebbc I take a little 
mo'. [He counts some money in his hand?] 

SECO* IBLER 

[Gland;. U Gon.1 [To the 

ers?\ 1 o!' L: 

[The Othi >\ up and laugh good-naturedly, re- 

peating "Liver lips 

FIRST GAMBLER 

Ain't his pockets high from de groun'? OV High- 
Pockets. 

[The others \eep saying "Ole Liver Lips!' "OV 
Liver Lips dorit like to see people die in \" "Dats 
a good name, 'High Pockets? "} 

BOY GAMBLER 

[To others?} Come on, you gonter fade me or not ? 
[God seizes the boys ears and drags him to his 
feet. The others do not move, but watch, 
amused?} 

£#3 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Come yere, son. Why, yo' jest a little boy. Gamblin' 
an' sinnin'. £God loo\s at the boys face.*} You been 
chewin' tobacco, too, like you was yo' daddy. £God 
sniffs.*} An' you been drinkin' sonny-kick-mammy- 
wine. You oughta be 'shamed. [To the others?] An' 
you gamblers oughta be 'shamed, leadin' dis boy to 
sin. 

FIRST GAMBLER 

He de bes' crap shooter in town, mister. 

GOD 

I'm gonter tell his mammy. I bet she don' know 
'bout dis. 

FIRST GAMBLER 

No, she don' know. {The others laugh!] She don' 
know anythin'. 

SECOND GAMBLER 

Das de God's truth. 

FIRST GAMBLER 

See kin you beat 'im, High Pockets. Dey's a dolla' 
open yere. 

GOD 

I ain't gonter beat 'im. I'm gonter teach 'im. I may 
have to teach you all. 

C57] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

[He starts walking from them. The Boy stic\s 
out his tongue the moment God's bac\ is 
turned^] 

BOY GAMBLER 

If you fin' my mammy you do mo'n I kin. Come 
on, gamblers, see kin you gimme a little action. Who 
wants any part of dat dollar? 

[The treadmill carries them off. The First 
Gambler is heard saying: "III takje anoder two 
bits'/ and the others, "Gimme a dime's wo'th" 
"1 aint only got fifteen cents left," etc. as they 
disappear.^] 

God 

[Walking.*] Where's dat little boy's home? [The 
front of a shanty appears and God stops in front of the 
door.*} Yere's de place. It ain't any too clean, either. 
[Knocks on the door with his cane.} 

VOICE IN SHANTY 

Whodar? 

GOD 

Never you min' who's yere. Open de door. 

VOICE IN SHANTY 

You gotta search warrant ? 

god 

I don' need one. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

VOICE IN SHANTY 

Who you wanter see ? 

GOD 

I wanter see de mammy of de little gamblin' boy, 

VOICE IN SHANTY 

You mean little Johnny Rucker? 

GOD 

Dat may be his name. 

VOICE IN SHANTY 

Well, Mrs. Rucker ain't home. 

GOD 

Where's she at? 

VOICE IN SHANTY 

Who, Mrs. Rucker? 

GOD 

You heerd me. 

VOICE IN SHANTY 

Oh, she run away las' night wid a railroad man. 
She's doped. 

GOD 

Where's Rucker ? 

VOICE IN SHANTY 

He's flat under de table. He so drunk he cain't 
move. 

GOD 

Who are you ? 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

VOICE IN SHANTY 

I'se jest a fren' an' neighbor. I come in las' night to 
de party, an' everybody in yere's dead drunk but me. 
De only reason I kin talk is I drank some new white 
mule I made myself, an' it burn my throat so I cain't 
drink no mo'. You got any mo' questions? 

GOD 

Not for you. 
[The shanty begins to move off as God starts 
trailing again .] 

VOICE IN SHANTY 

Good riddance, I say. 
[Shanty disappears.^ 

GOD 

Dis ain't gittin' me nowheres. All I gotta say dis 
yere mankind I been peoplin' my earth wid sho' ain't 
much. [He stops and lookj bachj\ I got good min' to 
wipe 'em all off an' people de earth wid angels. No. 
Angels is all right, singin' an' playin' an' flyin' around, 
but dey ain't much on workin' de crops and buildin' de 
levees. No, suh, mankind's jest right for my earth, if 
he wasn't so doggone sinful. I'd rather have my earth 
peopled wit' a bunch of channel catfish, dan I would 
mankin' an' his sin. I jest cain't stan' sin. 

[He is about to resume his wal\ when Noah 
enters. Noah is dressed like a country preacher. 
T6o3 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

His coat is of the "hammer-tail" variety. He 
carries a prayer boo\ under his arm^\ 

NOAH 

Mo'nin', brother. 

GOD 

Mo'nin', brother. I declare you look like a good man. 



NOAH 

I try to be, brother. I'm de preacher yere. I don't 
think I seen you to de meetin'. 
[They resume walking^ 

GOD 

I jest come to town a little while ago an' I been 
pretty busy. 

NOAH 

Yeh, mos' everybody say dey's pretty busy dese days. 
Dey so busy dey cain't come to meetin'. It seem like 
de mo' I preaches de mo' people ain't got time to 
come to church. I ain't hardly got enough members 
to fill up de choir. I gotta do de preachin' an' de 
bassin' too. 

GOD 

Is dat a f ac' ? 

NOAH 

Yes, suh, brother. Everybody is mighty busy, gam- 
blin', good-timin', an' goin' on. You jest wait, though. 

on 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

When Gabriel blow dc horn you gontcr fin' dcy got 
plenty of time to punch chunks down in Hell. Yes, 

suh. 

GOD 

Seems a pity. Dcy all perfec'ly health J 

AH 

Oh, dey healthy, all right. Dey jest all lazy, and 
mean, and full of sin. You look like a preacher, too, 
brother. 

GOD 

Well, I am, in a w 

)\H 

You jest passin' through de neighborhood? 

GOD 

Yes. I wanted to see how things was goin' in yo' 
part of de country, an 1 I been feelin' jest 'bout de way 
you do. It's enough to discourage you. 

NOAH 

Yes, but I gotta keep wres'lin' wid 'em. Where you 
boun' for right now, brother? 

GOD 

I was jest walkin' along. I thought I might stroll 
on to de nex' town. 

r<bi 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

NOAH 

Well, dat's a pretty good distance. I live right yere. 
[He stops walfyng?} Why don' you stop an' give 
us de pleasure of yo' comp'ny for dinner? I believe 
my ol' woman has kilt a chicken. 

GOD 

Why, dat's mighty nice of you, brother. I don' be- 
lieve I caught yo' name. 

NOAH 

Noah, jest brother Noah. Dis is my home, brother. 
Come right in. 

[God and Noah start walking towards Noah's 
house which is just coming into view on the 
treadmill^ 
[The stage darkens, the Choir sings "Feastin' 
Table," and when the lights go up again, the 
next scene is disclosed.^ 



Scene VIII 

Interior of Noah's house. The ensemble suggests 
the combination living-dining room in a fairly prosper- 
ous Negro's cabin. Clean white curtains hang at the 
window. A table and chairs are in the center of the 
room. There is a cheerful checked tablecloth on the 

1:633 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

table, and on the wall, a framed, highly colored picture 
reading "God Bless Our Home." 

£Noah's Wife, an elderly Negress, simply and 

neatly dressed, God and Noah are discovered 

grouped about the table.*] 

Noah 

Company, darlin'. [Noah's wife ta\es Noah's and 
God's hats.] Dil gemman'l a preacher, too. He's jest 
passin' through de country. 

COD 

Good mo'nin', sister. 

noah's wife 
Good mo'nin'. You jest ketch me when I'm gittin' 
dinner ready. You gonter stay with us ? 

GOD 

If I ain't intrudin'. Brother Noah suggested — 

noah's wife 
You set right down yere. I got a chicken in de 
pot an' it'll be ready in 'bout five minutes. I'll go out 
de back an' call Shem, Ham 'n' Japheth. [To God.]] 
Dey's our sons. Dey live right acrost de way but 
always have Sunday dinner wid us. You mens make 
yo'selves comf'table. 

C64] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Thank you, thank you very kindly. 

NOAH 

You run along, we all right. 

£God and Noah seat themselves. Noah's Wife 
cxits7\ 

GOD 

You got a fine wife, Brother Noah. 

NOAH 

She pretty good woman. 

GOD 

Yes, suh, an' you got a nice little home. Have a 
ten cent seegar? £God offers him one^\ 

NOAH 

Thank you, much obliged. 

\Both men lean bac\ restfully in their chairs.^ 

GOD 

Jest what seems to be de main trouble 'mong man- 
kind, Noah ? 

NOAH 

Well, it seems to me de main trouble is dat de whoF 
distric' is wide open. Now you know dat makes fo' 
loose livin'. Men folks spen's all dere time fightin', 
loafin' an' gamblin', an' makin' bad likker. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

What about de women ? 

NOAH 

De women is worse dan de men. If dey ain't makin' 
love powder dey out beg, borrow an' stealin' money 
for policy tickets. Doggone, I come in de church Sun- 
day 'fo' las' 'bout an' hour befo' de meetin' was to 
start, and dere was a woman stealin' de altar cloth. 
She was goin' to hock it. Dey ain't got no moral sense. 
Now you take dat case las' month, over in East Putney. 
Case of dat young Willy Roback. 

GOD 

What about him? 

NOAH 

Dere is a boy sebenteen years old. Doggone, if he 
didn't flope with his aunt. Now, you know, dat kin' 
of goin' on is bad fo' a neighborhood. 

GOD 

Terrible, terrible. 

NOAH 

Yes, suh. Dis use' to be a nice, decent community. 
I been doin' my best to preach de Word, but seems 
like every time I preach de place jest goes a little mo' 
to de dogs. De good Lawd only knows what's gonter 
happen. 

£661 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Dat is de truth. 
[There is a pause. Each puffs his cigar^\ 
[Suddenly Noah grasps his \nee, as if it were 
paining him, and twists his joot^\ 

NOAH 

Huh! 

GOD 

What's de matter ? 

NOAH 

I jest got a twitch. My buck-aguer I guess. Every 
now and den I gets a twitch in de knee. Might be a 
sign of rain. 

GOD 

That's just what it is. Noah, what's de mos' rain 
you ever had 'round dese parts? 

NOAH 

Well, de water come down fo' six days steady last 
April an' de ribber got so swole it bust down de levee 
up 'bove Freeport. Raise cain all de way down to de 
delta. 

GOD 

What would you say was it to rain for forty days and 
forty nights ? 

NOAH 

I'd say dat was a complete rain! 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Noah, you don't know who I is, do you? 

NOAH 

[Puzzled?] Yo' face looks easy, but I don' think I 
recall de name. 

[[God rises slowly, and as he reaches his full height 
there is a crash of lightning, a moment's dark- 
ness, and a roll of thunder. It grows light again. 
Noah is on his hjiees in front of God.] 
I should have known you. I should have seen de 
glory. 

GOD 

Dat's all right, Noah. You didn' know who I was. 

NOAH 

I'm jes' ol' preacher Noah, Lawd, an' I'm yo' ser- 
vant. I ain' very much, but Tse all I got. 

GOD 

Sit down, Noah. Don' let me hear you shamin' 
yo'se'f, caize yo' a good man. [Timidly Noah waits 
until God is seated, and then sits, himself.] I jest 
wanted to fin' out if you was good, Noah. Dat's why 
I'm walkin' de earth in de shape of a natchel man. 
I wish dey was mo' people like you. But, far as I kin 
see you and yo' fam'ly is de only respectable people 
in de worl'. 

£68;] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

NOAH 

Dey jest all poor sinners, Lawd. 

GOD 

I know. I am your Lawd. I am a god of wrath 
and vengeance an' dat's why I'm gonter destroy dis 
worl'. 

NOAH 

[Almost in a whisper. Drawing bac\^\ Jest as 
you say, Lawd. 

GOD 

I ain't gonter destroy you, Noah. You and yo* 
fam'ly, yo' sheep an' cattle, an' all de udder things dat 
ain't human I'm gonter preserve. But de rest is gotta 
go. [Takes a pencil and a sheet of paper from his 
poc\etr\ Look yere, Noah. [TNoah comes over and 
loo\s over his shoulder.^ I want you to build me a 
boat. I want you to call it de "Ark," and I want it 
to look like dis. [He is drawing on the paper. Con- 
tinues to write as he spea\s^\ I want you to take two 
of every kind of animal and bird dat's in de country. 
I want you to take seeds an' sprouts an' everythin' like 
dat an' put dem on dat Ark, because dere is gonter 
be all dat rain. Dey's gonter to be a deluge, Noah, 
an' dey's goin' to be a flood. De levees is gonter bust 
an' everything dat's fastened down is comin' loose, but 
it ain't gonter float long, caize I'm gonter make a storm 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

dat'll sink everythin' from a hencoop to a barn. Dey 
ain't a ship on de sea dat'll be able to fight dat tempest. 
Dey all got to go. Everythin'. Everythin' in dis pretty 
worl' I made, except one thing, Noah. You an' yo' 
fam'ly an' de things I said are going to ride dat storm 
in de Ark. Yere's de way it's to be. [He hands 
Noah the paper. Noah takes it and reads^] 

NOAH 

[Pause. Lookj at paper again .] Yes, suh, dis seems 
to be complete. Now 'bout the animals, Lawd, you 
say you want everythin'? 

GOD 

Two of everythin'. 

NOAH 

Dat would include jayraffes an' hippopotamusses? 

GOD 

Everythin' dat is. 

NOAH 

Dey was a circus in town las' week. I guess I kin 
fin' dem. Co'se I kin git all de rabbits an' possums 
an' wil' turkeys easy. I'll sen' de boys out. Hum, I'm 
jest wonderin' — 

GOD 

'Bout what? 

NOAH 

'Bout snakes? Think you'd like snakes, too? 

£70] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Certainly, I want snakes. 

NOAH 

Oh, I kin git snakes, lots of 'em. Co'se, some of 
'em's a little dangerous. Maybe I better take a kag of 
likker, too? 

GOD 

You kin have a kag of likker. 

NOAH 

[Musingly r\ Yes, suh, dey's a awful lot of diflfer'nt 
kin's of snakes, come to think about it. Dey's water 
moccasins, cotton-moufs, rattlers — mus' be a hund'ed 
kin's of other snakes down in de swamps. Maybe I 
better take two kags of likker. 

GOD 

[Mildly \\ I think de one kag's enough. 

NOAH 

No. I better take two kags. Besides I kin put one 
on each side of de boat, an' balance de ship wid dem as 
well as havin' dem fo' medicinal use. 

GOD 

You kin put one kag in de middle of de ship. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

NOAH 

[Buoyantly!} Jest as easy to take de two kags, 
Lawd. 

GOD 

I think one kag's enough. 

NOAH 

Yes, Lawd, hut you see forty days an' forty nights 

[There is a distant roll of thunder!} 

GOD 

[Firmly!} One kag, Noah. 

NOAH 

Yes, Lawd. One kag. 

[The door in the bac\ opens and Noah's Wife 
enters with a tray of dishes and food. 2 

noah's wife 
Now, den, gen'lemen, if you'll jest draw up cheers. 
[The stage is darkened. The Choir is heard sing- 
ing " I Want to Be Ready!' They continue in 
the darkness until the lights go up on the next 
scene!} 



Z72I 



Scene IX 

In the middle of the stage is the Ar\. On the hill- 
side, below the Ar\, a dozen or more men and women, 
townspeople, are watching Noah, Shem, Ham and 
Japheth on the deck of the Ar\. The three sons are 
busily nailing boards on the cabin. Noah is smo\ing 
a pipe. He wears a sil\ hat, captains uniform and a 
"slicker!' 

NOAH 

[To Shem.] You, Shem, tote up some oP rough 
lumber, don' bring up any planed up lumber, caize 
dat ain't fo' de main deck. 

SHEM 

Pretty near supper time, daddy. 

NOAH 

Maybe tis, but I got de feelin' we ought to keep 
goin\ 

FIRST WOMAN 

You gonter work all night, Noah, maybe, huh? 

NOAH 

\Without looking at her!} If de sperrit move me. 

C7.3 - ] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

SECOND WOMAN 

Look yere, Noah, whyn't you give up all dis damn 
foolishness? Don' you know people sayin' yo' crazy? 
What you think you doin' anyway? 

NOAH 

I'se buildin' a Ark. [Other men and women join 
those in the foreground. ~] Ham, you better stop for 
a while 'n see whether dey bringin' de animals up all 
right. [He lookj at his watch .^ Dey ought to be 
pretty near de foot o' de hill by dis time; if dey ain't 
you wait fo' dem and bring 'em yo'se'f. 

£Ham goes down a ladder at the side of the ship 
and exits during the following scene. The new- 
comers in group have been speaking to some 
of the early arrivals^ 

SECOND WOMAN 

[To Third Woman, one of the newcomers.^ No, 
you don't mean it! 

third woman 
I do so. Dat's what de talk is in de town. 

FIRST MAN 

You hear dat, Noah ? Dey say yo' oP lady is tellin' 
everybody it's gonter rain f o' fo'ty days and fo'ty nights. 
You know people soon gonter git de idea you all crazy. 

C74 3 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

NOAH 

Lot I keer what you think. [To Japheth.] 
Straighten up dem boards down dere, Japheth. ^Indi- 
cates floor of dec\r\ 

FIRST MAN 

[To Third Woman.] Was I you, I wouldn' go 
'round with Mrs. Noah anymore, lady. Fust thing 
you know you'll be gittin' a hard name, too. 

THIRD WOMAN 

Don' I know? 

SECOND WOMAN 

A lady cain't be too partic'lar dese days. 

£Zeba and Flatfoot, a tall, blac\, wic\ed-loe\ing 
buc\, enter, their arms around each others 
waistr\ 

ZEBA 

Dere it is baby. Was I lyin'? 

FLATFOOT 

Well, I'll be split in two! 

FIRST MAN 

What you think of it, Flatfoot? 

FLATFOOT 

I must say! Look like a house wit' a warpin* cellar, 

H75: 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

NOAH 

Dis yere vessel is a boat. 

FLATFOOT 

When I was a little boy dey used to build boats 
down near de ribber, where de water was. 
[The others laugh. 2 

NOAH 

Dis time it's been arranged to have dc water come 
up to de boat. Qaphkth lookj belligerently over the 
rail of the Arf^ at Flatfoot. To Japheth.] Keep yo' 
shirt on, son. 

SECOND WOMAN 

[To Third Woman.] Now, you see de whole 
fam'ly's crazy. 

THIRD WOMAN 

Listen, dey ain't gonter 'taminate me. It was me 
dat started resolvin' dem both out o' de buryin' society. 

ZEBA 

When all dis water due up yere, Noah? 

NOAH 

You won't know when it gits yere, daughter. 

ZEBA 

Is she goin' to be a side-wheeler, like de Bessy-Belle ? 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

FLATFOOT 

No! If she was a side-wheeler she'd get her wheels 
all clogged wid sharks. She gonter have jus' one great 
big stern wheel, like de Commodore. Den if dey 
ain't 'nuf water why de big wheel kin stir some up. 
[General laughter. Two or three of the Gam- 
blers enter and join the group, followed by 
Cain the Sixth.] 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

Dere's de fool an' his monument, jest like I said! 
[The Gamblers and Cain the Sixth roar with 
laughter, slap their legs, etc., the members of 
the main group tal\ sotto voce to each other as 
Cain the Sixth catches Zeba' eye. Flatfoot 
is on her right and is not aware of Cain the 
Sixth's presence.*} 

NOAH 

See how dey makin' out inside, son. [Stops ham- 
mering.} 

Qapheth exits into Ar\7\ 

£Noah turns and gazes towards the east.*} 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

Hello, honey. 

zeba 

[Frightened but smiling.} 
Hello, sugah. 

C77 3 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

[Pleasantly. } Ain' dat my ol' frien' Flatfoot wid 
you? 

ZEBA 

Why, so 'tis! [Tlatfoot is now listening.*} [To 
Flatfoot.] He's got a gun. 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

No, I ain't. 

[He lifts his hands over his head. Zeba quichly 
advances and runs her hands lightly over his pockets.} 

ZEBA 

[Relieved.} I guess he ain't. 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

No, I ain't got no gun for my ol' friend, Flatfoot. 
[He walkj up to him.} 

FLATFOOT 

[Smiling.} Hi, Cain. How's de boy? 
£Cain quickly presses his chest against Flatfoot's, 
his downstage arm sweeps around Flatfoot's 
body and his hand goes up to the small of Flat- 
foot's bachj} 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

[Quietly, but triumphantly^} I got a little \nife fo' 
him. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

[Tlatfoot falls dead!} 

[The laughter of the others stops and they loo\ 
at the scene. Zeba for a moment is terrified, 
her clenched hand pressed to her mouth. She 
loo\s at Cain the Sixth, who is smiling at her. 
He tosses the knife on the ground and holds 
his hands out to her. She goes to him, smiling!} 

ZEBA 

You sho' take keer of me, honey. 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

Dat's caize I think yo' wo'th takin' keer of, [To 
the others.*} It's all right, folks. I jest had to do a 
little cleanin' up. 

FIRST WOMAN 

[Smiling.} You is de quickes' scoundrel. 

FIRST GAMBLER 

It was a nice quick killin'. Who was he? 

SECOND WOMAN 

[Casually!} Dey called him Flatfoot. From over 
de river. He wa'nt any good. He owed me for 
washin' for over a year. 

THIRD WOMAN 

Used to peddle muggles. Said it had a kick like 
reg'lar snow. Wasn't no good. 

H79n 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

SECOND GAMBLER 

Think we ought to bury him ? 

FIRST MAN 

No, just leave him dere. Nobody comes up yere, 
'cept oP Manatee. 

[Indicates Noah. Cries of "01' Manatee! 01' 
Manatee, dot's good! "2 

NOAH 

[Still looking off. 2 You bettah pray, you po' chillun. 
[They all laugh.^ 

FIRST WOMAN 

We bettah pray? You bettah pray, Or Manatee? 

ZEBA 

You bettah pray for rain. [Laughter again.^ 

NOAH 

Dat's what I ain't doin', sinners. Shem! Japheth! 
[To others, as he points off. Patter of rain^\ Listen! 

CAIN THE SIXTH 

[Casually^ Doggone, I believe it is gonter shower 
a little. 

FIRST GAMBLER 

It do looks like rain. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

FIRST WOMAN 

I think I'll git on home. I got a new dress on. 

ZEBA 

Me, too. I wants to keep lookin' nice fo' my sweet 
papa. 

[She pats Cain the Sixth's chee\. Cain the 
Sixth hugs her^\ 

NOAH 

[Almost frantically 7\ Ham! Is de animals dere? 

HAM 

[Off stage^ Yes, sir, dere yere. We're comin\ 

NOAH 

Den bring 'em on. 
£Shem and Japheth come on dec\ with their ham- 
mers. The stage begins to dar\en^\ 

THIRD WOMAN 

I guess we all might go home 'til de shower's over. 
Come on, papa. 

SECOND GAMBLER 

See you after supper, Noah. [Crowd starts moving 
off rJ 

NOAH 

God's gittin' ready to start, my sons. Let's git dis 
plankin' done. 

on 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

ZEBA 

Put a bix Texas on it, Noah, an* we'll use it fo' 
excursions. 

[There is a distant roll of thunder, there are cries 
of "Good night, Admiral." "See you later.'' 
"So long, Manatee," as the crowd goes off. The 
thunder rumbles again. There is the sound of 
increasing rain. The hammers of Shem and 
Japheth sound louder and are joined by the 
sounds of other hammerers. There is a flash of 
lightning. The Choir begins "Dey 01' Ariz's a- 
Movering," the sounds on the Ar\ become faster 
and louder. The rush of rain grows heavier?^ 

NOAH 

Hurry! Hurry! Where are you, Ham? 

HAM 

{Just off staged] Yere, I am, father, wid de animals. 

NOAH 

God's give us his sign. Send 'em up de gangplank. 
[An inclined plane is thrown against the Arl{ 
from the side of the stage by Ham, who cracks 
a whipr\ 

HAM 

Get on, dere. 

[The heads of two elephants are seen7\ 

C82] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

NOAH 

Bring 'cm on board! De Lawd is strikin' down de 
worlM 

\The singing and the noises reach fortissimo as 
Ham crackj his whip again, and the rain falls 
on the staged 
\The stage is darkened. The Choir continues 
singing in the darhjiess^\ 



Scene X 

When the lights go up on scene, the Ar\ is at sea. 
Stationary waves run in front of it. The hillside has 
disappeared. The Ar\ is in the only lighted area. 

Shem is smoking a pipe on the dec\, leaning on the 
rail. A steamboat whistle blows three short and one 
long blast. Shem is surprised. In a moment Ham 
appears, also with a pipe, and joins Shem at the rail. 

SHEM 

Who'd you think you was signallin'? 

HAM 

Dat wasn't me, dat was daddy. 

SHEM 

He think he gonter git a reply? 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

HAM 

I don' know. He's been gittin' a heap of comfort 
out of dat likker. 

SHEM 

De kag's nearly empty, ain't it? 

HAM 

Pretty nearly almos\ [They loo\ over the rail. A 
paused} Seen anythin'? 

SHEM 

Dis mornin' I seen somethin' over dere mighV been 
a fish. 

HAM 

Dat's de big news of de week. 

SHEM 

How long you think dis trip's gonter las'? 

HAM 

I don' know! Rain fo'ty days 'n' fo'ty nights an' 
when dat stop' I thought sho' we'd come up ag'inst 
a san' bar o' somethin'. Looks now like all dat rain 
was jest a little incident of de trip. [The whistle blows 
again.*} Doggone! I wish he wouldn't do dat. Fust 
thing we know he'll wake up dem animals ag'in. 
Qapheth appears.} 

[8 4 n 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

SHEM 

What de matter wit' de oP man, Jape ? 

JAPHETH 

Doggone, he say he had a dream dat we're nearly 
dere. Dat's why he pullin de whistle cord. See kin 
he git a' answer. [He lookj over the rail!} Look to 
me like de same oP territory. 

£Mrs. Noah appears on dec\r\ 

noah's wife 
You boys go stop yo' paw pullin' dat cord. He so 
full of likker he think he's in a race. 

JAPHETH 

He claim he know what he's doin'. 

noah's wife 
I claim he gittin' to be a perfec' nuisance. Me an* 
yo' wives cain't hardly heah ou'sel'es think. £Noah 
appears, his hat ra\ishly tilted on his head. He goes 
to the railing and loo\s out.*} You 'spectin' com- 
pany ? 

NOAH 

Leave me be, woman. De watah don' look so rough 
today. De oP boat's ridin' easier. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

noah's wife 
Ridin' like a ol' mule! 

NOAH 

Yes, suh, de air don't feel so wet. Shem! 'Spose 
you sen' out 'nother dove. £Shem goes into the ArhJ\ 
Ham, go git de soundin' line. Jape, keep yo' eye 
on de East. 

Qapheth goes to the end of the boat7\ 

noah's wife 
As fo' you, I s'pose you'll help things along by takin' 
a little drink. 

NOAH 

Look yere, who's de pilot of dis vessel? 

noah's wife 
Ol' Mister Dumb Luck. 

NOAH 

Well, see dat's where you don' know anythin'. 



noah's wife 



I s'pose you ain't drunk as a fool? 

NOAH 

\Cordidly7\ I feel congenial. 

[86: 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

NOAHS WIFE 

An' you look it. You look jest wonderful. I wonder 
if you'd feel so congenial if de Lawd was to show up i 

NOAH 

De Lawd knows what I'm doin', don' you worry 
'bout dat. 

noah's wife 
I wouldn't say anythin' ag'inst de Lawd. He sut- 
tinly let us know dey'd be a change in de weather. 
But I bet even de Lawd wonders sometimes why he 
ever put you in charge. 

NOAH 

Well, you let de Lawd worry' bout dat. 
£Shem appears with the dove7\ 

shem 
Will I leave her go, Paw? 

NOAH 

Leave 'er go. 

{There is a chorus of "Good Luc\, Dove," from 
the group as the dove flies off stage. Ham ap- 
pears with the sounding Une7\ 
Throw 'er over, Boy. 

£Ham proceeds to do so^\ 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

noah's wife 

An' another thing 

HAM 

Hey! 

NOAH 

[Rushing to his side^} What is it? 

HAM 

Only 'bout a inch! Look! [They lean over7\ 

JAPHETH 

It 's gettin' light in dc Fast. 

[As Ham worhj the cord up and dotvn, Noah 
and Noah's Wife turn toward Japiieth. The 
Choir begins "My Soul Is a Witness for the 
Lord."! 

NOAH 

Praise de Lawd, so it is. 

noah's wife 
Oh, dat's pretty. 

NOAH 

[To Ham.] An' de boat's stopped. We've landed. 
Shem, go down n' drag de fires an' dreen de boiler. 
Yo go help 'im, Ham. 

JAPHETH 

Look, Paw. 

[The dove wings bac\ to the Ar\ with an olive 
branch in its mouthy 
[883 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

NOAH 

'N' yere's de little dove wid greenery in its mouth! 
Take 'er down, Jape, so she kin tell de animals. 
Qapheth exits after Shem and Ham carrying the dove. 
To Mrs. Noah.] Now, maybe you feel little different 

noah's wife 

[Contritely ?\ It was jes' gittin' to be so tiresome. 
I'm sorry, Noah. 

NOAH 

Dat's all right, oP woman. £Noah's Wife exits. 
Noah lookj about him. The lights have changed and 
the water piece is gone and the ar\ is again on the hill- 
side. Two mountains can be seen in the distance and 
a rainbow slowly appears over the Ar\.. The singing 
has grown louder?^ Thank you, Lawd, thank you 
very much indeed. Amen. 

[The singing stops with the "Amen? God ap- 
pears on the dec\r\ 

god 

Yo' welcome, Noah. 

[[Noah turns and sees him^\ 

NOAH 

O, Lawd, it's wonderful. 

C893 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

[Looking about him.] I sort of like it. I like de 
way you handled de ship, too, Noah. 

NOAH 

Was you watchin', Lawd? 

GOD 

Every minute. [He smiles.*] Didn't de oP lady 
light into you? 

NOAH 

[Apologetically.] She was kinda restless. 

GOD 

That's all right. I ain't blamin' nobody. I don' 
even min' you' cussin' an drinkin'. I figure a steam- 
boat cap'n on a long trip like you had has a right to 
a little redeye, jest so he don' go crazy. 

NOAH 

Thank you, Lawd. What's de orders now? 

GOD 

All de animals safe? 

NOAH 

Dey all fin'n' dandy, Lawd. 

on 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Den I want you to open dat starboard door, an' leave 
'em all out. Let 'em go down de hill. Den you an' 
de family take all de seeds 'n de sprouts an' begin 
plantin' ag'in. I'm startin' all over, Noah. 
£Noah exits. God looks around.*} 

GOD 

Well, now we'll see what happens. [God listens 
with a smile, as noises accompanying the debarring of 
the animals are heard. There are the crac\s of whips, 
the voices of the men on the Ar\, shouting: "Git along 
dere." u Whoa,ta\e it easy." "Duc\yo' head." "Keep 
in line dere" etc. Over the Ar\ there is a burst of 
centrifugal shadows, and the sound of a myriad of 
wings. God smiles at the shadows?} Dat's right, 
birds, fin' yo' new homes. [Bird twitters are heard 
again. God listens a moment and rests an arm on the 
railing. He spea\s softly.} Gabriel, kin you spare a 
minute?" 

[[Gabriel appears.} 

GABRIEL 

Yes, Lawd? 
[The sounds from the other side of the Ar\ are 
by now almost hushed. The Lord indicates the 
new world with a wave of the hand.} 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Well, it's did. 

GABRIEL 

[Respectfully, but with no enthusiasm^ So I take 
notice. 

GOD 

Yes, suh, startin' all over again. 

GABRIEL 

So I see. 

GOD 

[Lookjng at him suddenly^ Don' seem to set you 
up much. 

GABRIEL 

Well, Lawd, you see — \He hesitates^ 'Tain't none 
of my business. 

GOD 

What? 

GABRIEL 

I say, I don' know very much about it. 

GOD 

I know you don'. I jest wanted you to see it. \ji 
thought strides him^\ Co'se, it ain' yo' business, Gabe. 
It's my business. 'Twas my idea. De whole thing 
was my idea. An' every bit of it's my business 'n no- 
body else's. De whole thing rests on my shoulders. 
I declare, I guess dot's why I feel so solemn an' serious, 

192-2 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

at dis particklar time. You know dis thing's turned 
into quite a proposition. 

GABRIEL 

\Tenderly?[ But, it's all right, Lawd, as you say, 
it's did. 

GOD 

Yes, suh, it's did. [Sighs deeply. Loo\s slowly to 
the right and the left. Then softly.^ I only hope it's 
goin' to work out all right. 



CURTAIN 



£93 3 



THE GREEN PASTURES 
PART TWO 



PART TWO 

Scene I 

God's Office again. 

Somewhere the Choir is singing: "A City Called 
Heaven!' In the office are Two Women Cleaners. 
One is scrubbing the floor, the other dusting the furni- 
ture. The one dusting stops and loo\s out the win- 
dow. There is a whirr and a distant faint Boom. The 
Choir stops. 

FIRST CLEANER 

Dat was a long way off. 

SECOND CLEANER 

\At window^ Yes, ma'am. An' dat must a' been 
a big one. Doggone, de Lawd mus' be mad fo' sho', 
dis mo'nin'. Dat's de f o'ty-six' thunde'-bolt since break- 
fast. 

FIRST CLEANER 

I wonder where at He's pitchin' dem. 

SECOND CLEANER 

My goodness, don' you know? 

' C97 3 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

FIRST CLEANER 

£A little hurt. 2 Did I know I wouldn't ask dc 
question. 

SECOND CLEANER 

Every one of dem's bound fo' de earth. 

FIRST CLEANER 

De earth? You mean dat little ol' dreenin' place? 

SECOND CLEANER 

Dat's de planet. [^Another faint whirr and boom?[ 
Dere goes another. 

FIRST CLEANER 

Well, bless me. / didn't know dey was thunde'bolts. 

SECOND CLEANER 

Wha'd you think dey was? 

FIRST CLEANER 

[^Above deshj\ " wasn't sho', but I thought maybe 
He might be whittlin' a new star o' two, an' de noise 
was jest de chips fallin'. 

SECOND CLEANER 

Carrie, where you been? Don' you know de earth 
is de new scandal ? Ever'body's talkin' 'bout it. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

FIRST CLEANER 

Dcy kep' it from me. 

SECOND CLEANER 

Ain't you noticed de Lawd's been unhappy lately ? 

FIRST CLEANER 

\T houghtjully^ Yeah, He ain't been his old self. 

SECOND CLEANER 

What did you think was de matteh ? Lumbago ? 

FIRST CLEANER 

^Petulantly \\ I didn't know. I didn't think it was 
fo' me t'inquieh. 

SECOND CLEANER 

Well, it jest so happens dat de Lawd is riled as kin 
be by dat measly little earth. Or I should say de scum 
dat's on it. 

FIRST CLEANER 

Dat's mankind down dere. 

SECOND CLEANER 

Dey mus' be scum, too, to git de Lawd so wukked 
up. 

FIRST CLEANER 

I s'pose so. \jinother whirr and boom^ Looks 
like He's lettin' dem feel de wrath. Ain' dat a shame 
to plague de Lawd dat way ? 

C99 3 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

SECOND CLEANER 

From what I hear dey been beggin' fo' what dey're 
gittin\ My brother flew down to bring up a saint de 
other day and he say from what he see mos' of de 
population down dere has made de debbil king an' 
dey wukkin' in three shifts fo' him. 

FIRST CLEANER 

You cain't blame de Lawd. 

SECOND CLEANER 

Co'se you cain't. Dem human bein's 'd make any- 
body bile oveh. Ev'rytime de Lawd try to do sompin' 
fo' dem, doggone if dey don't staht some new ruckus. 

FIRST CLEANER 

I take notice He's been wukkin' in yere mo' dan 
usual. 

SECOND CLEANER 

I wish He'd let us ladies fix it up. Wouldn't take a 
minute to make dis desk gold-plated. 

FIRST CLEANER 

I 'spose He likes it dis way. De Lawd's kind o' oF 
fashioned in some ways. I s'pose He keeps dis office 
plain an' simple on purpose. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

SECOND CLEANER 

^Finishing her wor\7\ I don' see why. 

FIRST CLEANER 

\^Loo\ing off. ^ Well, it's kind of a nice place to 
come to when He's studyin' somethin' impo'tant. 'Most 
evahthin' else in heaven's so fin' 'n' gran', maybe ev'ry 
now an den He jest gits sick an' tired of de glory. £She 
is also collecting her utensils.^ 

SECOND CLEANER 

Maybe so. Jest de same I'd like to have a free hand 
wid dis place for a while, so's I could gold it up. 
£God appears in the doorway.^ 

GOD 

Good mo'nin', daughters. 

FIRST AND SECOND CLEANERS 

Good mo'nin', Lawd. We was jest finishin'. 

GOD 

Go ahead den, daughters. \Goes to the window^ 

FIRST AND SECOND CLEANERS 

Yes, Lawd. \jThey exeunt. Off stage.^ Good 
mo'nin', Gabriel. 

\^Off stage Gabriel says, "Good mo'nin , sisters," 
and enters immediately. He stands in the door- 
Cioi] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

way for a moment watching God — a notebook^ 
and pencil in his hand?} 

GOD 

What's de total? 

GABRIEL 

{^Consulting the boo\.} Eighteen thousand nine 
hund'ed an* sixty for de mo nin\ Dat's includin' de 
village wid de fo'tune tellers. Dey certainly kin breed 

fast. 

GOD 

[^Solemnly.} Dey displease me. Dey displease me 
greatly, 

GABRIEL 

Want some more bolts, Lawd? 

GOD 

[Looking through window?} Look at 'em dere. 
Squirmin' an' fightin' an' bearin' false witness. Listen 
to dat liar, dere. He don' intend to marry dat little 
gal. He don' even love her. What did you say? 

GABRIEL 

Should I git mo' bolts ? 

GOD 

Wait a minute. \JRe carefully points his finger down 
through the window.*} I'm goin' to git dat wicked 

[>2] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

man myself. [From a great distance comes an agon- 
ized cry: "Oh, Lawd!" God turns from the window^ 
No use gittin' mo' thunde'bolts. Dey don' do de trick. 
[He goes to the swivel chair and sits.*2 It's got to be 
somethin' else. 

GABRIEL 

How would it be if you was to doom 'em all ag'in, 
like dat time you sent down de flood ? I bet dat would 
make dem mind. 

GOD 

You see how much good de flood did. Dere dey is, 
jest as bad as ever. 

GABRIEL 

How about cleanin' up de whole mess of 'em and 
sta'tin' all over ag'in wid some new kind of animal ? 

GOD 

An' admit I'm licked? 

GABRIEL 

[Ashamedly.^ No, of co'se not, Lawd. 

GOD 

No, suh. No, suh. Man is a kind of pet of mine 
and it ain't right fo' me to give up tryin' to do some- 
thin' wid him. Doggone, mankin' mus be all right 
at de core or else why did I ever bother wid him in de 
first place? [Sits at des\7\ 

O3II 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GABRIEL 

It's jest dat I hates to see you worryin' about it, 
Lawd. 

GOD 

Gabe, dere ain't anythin' worth while anywheres 
dat didn't 'cause somebody some worryin'. I ain't 
never tol' you de trouble I had gittin' things 
started up yerc. Dat'l a story in itself. No, suh, de 
more I keep on bein' dc Lawd de more I know I got 
to keep improvin' things. An' dat takes time and 
worry. Dc main trouble wid mankin' is he takes up 
so much of my time. He ought to be able to help 
hissclf a little. [He stops suddenly and cogitates^] 
Hey, dere! I think I got it! 

GABRIEL 

[Eagerly^] What's de news? 

GOD 

[Still cogitating^] Yes, suh, dat seems like an awful 
good idea. 

GABRIEL 

Tell me, Lawd. 

GOD 

Gabriel, have you noticed dat every now an' den, 
mankin' turns out some pretty good specimens? 

[>43 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GABRIEL 

Dat's de truth, 

GOD 

Yes, suh. Dey's ol' Abraham and Isaac an' Jacob an' 
all dat family. 

GABRIEL 

Dat's so, Lawd. 

GOD 

An' everyone of dem boys was a hard wukker an' 
a good citizen. We got to admit dat. 

GABRIEL 

Dey wouldn't be up yere flyin' wid us if dey hadn't 
been. 

GOD 

No, suh. An' I don' know but what de answer to 
de whole trouble is right dere. 

GABRIEL 

How you mean, Lawd? 

GOD 

Why, doggone it, de good man is de man dat keeps 
busy. I mean I been goin' along on de principle dat 
he was something like you angels — dat you ought to 
be able to give him somethin' an' den jest let him sit 
back an' enjoy it. Dat ain't so. Now dat I recollec' 
I put de first one down dere to take keer o' dat garden 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

an' den I let him go ahead an' do nothin' but git into 
mischief. [He rises!} Sure, dat's it. He ain't built 
jest to fool 'roun' an' not do nothin'. Gabe, I'm gonter 
try a new scheme. 

GABRIEL 

[Eagerly.} What's de scheme, Lawd? 

GOD 

Til tell you later. Send in Abraham, Isaac an' 
Jacob. [A voice outside calls: "Right away, Lawd."} 
You go tell dcm to put Jem bolts back in de boxes. 
I ain' gonter use dem ag'in a while. 

GABRIEL 

O. K., Lawd. 

GOD 

Was you goin' anywhere near de Big Pit ? 

GABRIEL 

I could go. 

GOD 

Lean over de brink and tell Satan he's jest a plain 
fool if he thinks he kin beat anybody as big as me. 

GABRIEL 

Yes, suh, Lawd. Den I'll spit right in his eye. 
^Gabriel exits.*} 

[God loo\s down through the window again to 
the earth below.} 



THE GREEN PASTURES 



GOD 

Dat new polish on de sun makes it powerful hot. 
[He "rar bac\."^ Let it be jest a little bit cooler. [He 
feels the air7\ Dat's nice. [Goes to His des\. A 
\noc\ on the doorT\ Come in. 

^Abraham, Isaac and Jacob enter. All are very 
old men, but the beard of Abraham is the long- 
est and whitest, and they suggest their three gen- 
erations. They have wings that are not quite so 
big as those of the native angels7\ 

ISAAC 

Sorry we so long coming Lawd. But Pappy and me 
had to take de boy [Pointing to Jacob^] over to git 
him a can of wing ointment. 

GOD 

What was de matter, son? 

JACOB 

Dey was chafin' me a little. Dey fine now, thank 
you, Lawd. 

GOD 

Dat's good. Sit down an' make yo'selves comftable. 
[The three sit. Men: "Than\ you, Lawd."^ Men, 
I'm goin' to talk about a little scheme I got. It's one 
dat's goin' to affec' yo' fam'lies an' dat's why I 'cided 
I'd talk it over wid you, 'fo' it goes into ee-fect. I don' 
know whether you boys know it or not, but you is 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

about de three best men of one fam'ly dat's come up 
yere since I made little apples. Now I tell you what 
I'm gonter do. Seein' dat you human bein's cain't 
predate anythin' lessen you fust wukk to git it and 
den keep strugglin' to hold it, why I'm gonter turn 
over a very valuable piece of property to yo' fam'ly, 
and den see what kin dey do with it. De rest of de 
worl' kin go jump in de river fo' all I keer. I'm 
gonter be lookin' out fo' yo' descendents only. Now 
den, seein' dat you boys know de country pretty tho'ly, 
where at does you think is de choice piece of property 
in de whole worl'? Think it over for a minute. I'm 
gonter let you make de s'lection. 

ABRAHAM 

If you was to ask me, Lawd, I don't think dey come 
any better dan de Land of Canaan. 

GOD 

\jTo Isaac and Jacob.] What's yo' feelin' in de mat- 
ter? 

JACOB 

X^Ajter a nod from Isaac] Pappy an' me think do 
we get a pick, dat would be it. 

GOD 

\jGoes to window again; loo\s out^\ De Land of 
Canaan. Yes, I guess dat's a likely neighborhood. It's 

OS] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

all run over wid Philistines and things right now, but 
we kin clean dat up. [He turns from the window and 
resumes his seat7\ All right. Now who do you boys 
think is de best of yo' men to put in charge down 
dere? You see I ain't been payin' much attention to 
anybody in particlar lately. 

ISAAC 

Does you want de brainiest or de holiest, Lawd? 
£Men loo\ upr\ 

GOD 

I want de holiest. I'll make him brainy. £Men ap- 
preciate the miracle.] 

ISAAC 

\jis Abraham and Isaac nod to him^\ Well, if you 
want A Number One, goodness, Lawd, I don't know 
where you'll git more satisfaction dan in a great-great- 
great-great grandson of mine. 

GOD 

Where's he at? 

ISAAC 

At de moment I b'lieve he's in de sheep business 
over in Midian County. He got in a little trouble 
down in Egypt, but t'wan't his doin'. He killed a man 
dat was abusin' one of our boys in de brick works. Of 
co'se you know old King Pharaoh's got all our people 
in bondage. 

[>9U 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

I heard of it. [With some ire^] Who did you think 
put them dere? [The visitors lower their heads7\ It's 
all right, boys. [All rise^\ I'm gonter take dem out 
of it. An' I'm gonter turn over de whole Land of 
Canaan to dem. An' do you know whose gonter lead 
dem dere? Yo' great, great, great, great grandson. 
Moses, ain't it? 

ISAAC 

Yes, Lawd. 

GOD 

[Smiling^ Yes. I been noticin' him. 

ABRAHAM 

It's quite a favor fo' de fam'ly, Lawd. 

GOD 

Dat's why I tol' you. You see, it so happens I love 
yo' fam'ly, an' I delight to honor it. Dat's all, gen'le- 
men. [The three others rise and cross to the door, 
murmuring, "Yes, Lawd," "Than\ you, Lawd," 
"Much obliged, Lawd" etc. The Choir begins, "My 
Lord's A-Writin All De Time" pianissimo. God stands 
watching the men leave .] Enjoy yo' selves. [He goes 
to the window. The singing grows softer. He spea\s 
through the window to the earthy I'm comin' down 
to see you, Moses, an' dis time my scheme's got to 
wukk. 

CuoH 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

[The stage is darkened. The singing grows 
louder and continues until the lights go up on 
the next scene.^ 

Scene II 

The tableau curtains frame the opening of a cave, 
which is dimly lighted. A large tur\ey -berry bush 
is somewhere near the foreground. Moses is seated 
on the grass eating his lunch from a basket in his lap. 
Zipporah, his wife, stands watching him. He is about 
forty, Zipporah somewhat younger. They are dressed 
inconspicuously. Moses stutters slightly when he 
speaks. He loo\s up to see Zipporah smiling. 

MOSES 

What you smilin' at, Zipporah? 

ZIPPORAH 

Caize you cnjoyin' yo'self. 

MOSES 

You is a good wife, Zipporah. 

ZIPPORAH 

You is a good husband, Moses. £Moses wipes his 
mouth with a handkerchief and begins putting into 
the basket the various implements of the meal which 
had been on the ground about him^\ Why you sup- 
pose it's so dark yere today ? Dey's no rain in de air. 

Dun 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

MOSES 

Seems like it's jest aroun' dis cave. Yo' father's house 
is got de sun on it. [He loof{S in another direction.^ 
Looks all clear down toward Egypt. 

ZIPPORAH 

Co'se it would be fine weather in Egypt. De sky 
looks all right. Maybe it's gonter rain jest right yere. 
Why don't you move de sheep over to de other pas- 
ture? 

MOSES 

[A bit puzzled^] I don' know. It got dark like 
dis befo' you come along wid de dinner an' I was 
gonter stop you on de top of de hill. Den somethin' 
kep' me yere. 

ZIPPORAH 

S'pose it could be de Lawd warnin' you dat dey's 
'Gyptians hangin' 'roun' ? 

MOSES 

Dey may have fo'gotten all about dat killin' by now. 
Dey got a new Pharaoh down dere. 

ZIPPORAH 

An' I hear he's jest as mean to yo' people as his 
pappy was. I wouldn't put it pas' him to send soljahs 
all the way up yere fo' you. 

D«3 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

- 

MOSES 

Dat's all right. De Lawd's looked after me so fai, 
I don't 'spect him to fall down on me now. You better 
be gittin' home. 

ZIPPORAH 

[Talking the basket.} I'll be worryin' about you. 

MOSES 

[Kissing her and then smiling?} 'Parently de Lawd 
ain't. He knows I'm safe as kin be. Lemme see you 
feel dat way. 

ZIPPORAH 

You is a good man, Moses. 

MOSES 

I's a lucky man. £Zipporah exits with the basket. 
Moses loo\s up at the sk$r\ Dat's funny. De sun 
seems to be shinin' everyplace but right yere. It's shinin' 
on de sheep. Why ain't dey no cloud dere ? 

GOD 

[Off stage?} Caize I want it to be like dat, Moses. 

MOSES 

[Looking about him.} Who's dat? 

GOD 

[Off stage again.} I'm de Lawd, Moses. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

MOSES 

[Smiling.^ Dat's what you say. Dis ycre shadow 
may be de Lawd's wukk, but dat voice soun' pretty 
much to me like my oY brother Aaron. 

GOD 

[Off staged Den keep yo' eyes open, son. [The 
turkey-berry bush begins to glow and then turns com- 
pletely red. Moses lookj at it fascinated .] Maybe you 
notice de bush ain't burnin' up. 

MOSES 

Dat's de truth. 

£Moses is full of awe but not frightened!^ 

GOD 

[Off staged] Now you believe me? 

MOSES 

Co'se I does. It's wonderful. 

[The light in the bush dies and God appears from 
behind //.] 

GOD 

No, it ain't, Moses. It was jest a trick. 

MOSES 

'Scuse me doubtin' you, Lawd. I always had de 
feelin' you wuz takin' keer of me, but I never 'spected 

C»43 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

you'd fin' de time to talk wid me pussunly. [He 
laughs.} Dat was a good trick, Lawd. I'se seen some 
good ones, but dat was de beatenest. 

GOD 

Yo' gonter see lots bigger tricks dan dat, Moses, 
In fac', yo' gonter perfo'm dem. 

MOSES 

[Incredulously \\ Me ? I'm gonter be a tricker ? 

GOD 

Yes, suh. 

MOSES 

An' do magic ? Lawd, my mouth ain't got de quick 
talk to go wid it. 

GOD 

It'll come to you now. 

moses [Now cured of stuttering} 
Is I goin' wid a circus ? 

GOD 

[Slowly and solemnly.*} Yo' is goin' down into 
Egypt, Moses, and lead my people out of bondage. 
To do dat I'm gonter make you de bes' tricker in de 
worP. 

MOSES 

[A little frightened^} Egypt! You know I killed a 
man dere, Lawd. Won't dey kill me ? 

C"53 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Not when dey see yo' tricks. You ain't skeered, is 
you? 

MOSES 

[Simply and bravely.*] No, suh, Lawd. 

COD 

Den yere's what I'm gonter do. Yo' people is my 
chillun, Moses. I'm sick and tired o' de way oV King 
Pharaoh is treatin' dem, so I'se gonter take dem av 
and yo' gonter lead dem. You gonter lead 'em out of 
Egypt an' across de river Jordan. It's gonter take a 
long time, and you ain't goin' on no excursion train. 
Yo' gonter wukk awful hard for somethin' yo' goin' to 
fin' when de trip's over. 

MOSES 

What's dat, Lawd? 

GOD 

It's de Land of Canaan. It's de bes' land I got. I've 
promised it to yo' people, an' I'm gonter give it to dem. 

MOSES 

Co'se, ol' King Pharaoh will do everything he kin to 
stop it. 

GOD 

Yes, an' dat's where de tricks come in. Dey tell me 
he's awful fond of tricks. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

MOSES 

I hear dat's all he's fon' of. Dey say if you can't take 
a rabbit out of a hat you cain't even git in to see him. 

GOD 

Wait'll you see de tricks you an' me's goin' to show 
him. 

MOSES 

[Delightedly \\ Doggone ! Huh, Lawd ? 

GOD 

Yes, suh. Now de first trick — 

[God is lifting a stic\ which he carries^ 

MOSES 

Jest a minute, Lawd. [God halts the demonstra^ 
tionr\ I'm gonter learn de tricks and do just like you 
tell me, but I \now it's gonter take me a little time to 
learn all dat quick talkin'. Cain't I have my brother 
Aaron go wid me ? He's a good man. 

GOD 

I was gonter have him help you wid de Exodus. I 
guess he can watch, too. 

MOSES 

I'll call 'im. [He turns as if to shout. .] 

l>7~l 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Wait. £Moses turns and loo\s at God.] I'll bring 
him. [Softly \] Aaron! 

[ Aaron appears between God and Moses in the 
mouth of the cave. He is a little taller th 
Moses and slightly older. He, too, is dressed like 
a field hand.^ 

AARON 

[Blankly^ Hey! 
£Moses goes to him, ta\es his hand and leads him, 
bewildered, down to where Moses had been 
standing alone. Aaron then sees God.] 

MOSES 

[Almost in a whisper^ It's all right. 

GOD 

Don't worry, son, I'm jest showin' some tricks. 
Bringin' you yere was one of dem. £ Aaron stares at 
God as if hypnotized^ Now den, you see dis yere rod ? 
Looks like a ordinary walking stick, don it? 

MOSES 

Yes, Lawd. 

GOD 

Well, it ain't no ordinary walkin' stick, caize look. 
£Moses leans forward^ When I lays it down on de 

groun' 

[118;] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

\The stage is darkened. The Choir begins, "Go 
Down, Moses," and continues until the lights go 
up on the next scene^\ 



Scene III 

The throne room of Pharaoh. It suggests a Negro 
lodge room. The plain board walls are colored by 
several large parade banners of varying sizes, colors and 
materials, bordered with gold fringe and tassels on 
them. Some of the inscriptions on them read: 

Sublime Order of Princes of the House of Pharaoh 

Home Chapter 

Mystic Brothers of the Egyptian Home Guard 
Ladies Auxiliary, No. i 

Supreme Magicians and Wizards of the Universe 

Private Flag of His Honor Old King Pharaoh 

Royal Young People's Pleasure Club 

Enchanted and Invisible Cadets of Egypt Boys 5 

Brigade 

Cup] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

There is one door up right and a window. The 
throne, an ordinary armchair with a drapery over 
is on a dais. V\ i/ed on the thrt 

His crown and garments might be those worn by a 
high officer in a Negro lodge during a ritual. About 
the throne itself are high Is, several of them with 

plumed hats, clothing that suggests military uniforms, 
and rather elaborate sword belts, swords and scabbards. 
A few soldiers carrying spears are also in his neighbor- 
hood and one or two bearded ancients in brightly 
colored robes with the word ' rd" on their conical 

hats. In the general group of men and women scat- 
tered elsewhere in the room Sunday finery is noticeable 
everywhere. Most of the civilians have bright "parade" 
ribbons and ivcar medals. In a cleared space immedi- 
ately before the throne a Candidate Mac;ician is per- 
forming a sleight-of-hand tric\ with cards. Pharaoh 
watches him apathetically. He is receiving earnest at- 
tention from a few of the others, but the ma)ority of the 
men and women are talking quietly among themselves. 
Beside the Candidate Magician are several parapher- 
nalia of previously demonstrated trickj. 



Candidate Magician 

[Holding up some cards.*] Now den, oF King 
Pharaoh, watch dis. [He completes a tric\. There is 
a murmur of "Not Bad." "Pretty Good," etc. from a 
few of the watchers. Pharaoh ma\es no comment.] 

O20] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

Now, I believe de cyard I ast you to keep sittin' on was 
de trey of diamonds, wasn't it ? 

PHARAOH 

Yeah. 

CANDIDATE MAGICIAN 

Den kin I trouble you to take a look at it now? 
{[Pharaoh half rises to pic\ up a card he has been sit- 
ting on, and loo\s at it7\ I believe you'll now notice 
dat it's de King of Clubs? [[Pharaoh nods and shows 
the card to those nearest him. The Candidate Magi- 
cian waits for an audible approval and gets practically 
none7\ An' dat, oP King Pharaoh, completes de 
puffohmance. 

\\An elderly man in a uniform steps forward^ 

GENERAL 

On behalf of my nephew I beg Yo' Honor to let him 
jine de ranks of de royal trickers and magicians. 

PHARAOH 

[To the two Wizards.] What do de committee 
think? XT he Wizards sha\e their heads \\ Dat's 
what I thought. He ain't good enough. I'd like to 
help you out, General, but you know a man's got to be 
a awful good tricker to git in de royal society dese days. 
You better go back an' steddy some mo', son. \He lifts 
his voice and directs two soldiers guarding the door7\ 
Is de head magician reached de royal waitin' room yit ? 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

[One of the soldiers opens the door to loo\ out^\ If 
he is, send him in. 

[The soldier beckons to some one off stage, throws 
the door open, and announces to the court .] 

SOLDIER 

De Head Magician of de land of Egypt. 

[A very old and villainous man enters. His cos- 
tume is covered with cabalistic and zodiacal 
signs. He advances to the King, the other 
magician and his uncle making way for him. 
He bows curtly to Pharaoh.] 

HEAD MAGICIAN 

Good mo'nin', ol' King Pharaoh. 

PHARAOH 

Mo'nin', Professor. What's de news? 

HEAD MAGICIAN 

Evahthing's bein' carried out like you said. 

PHARAOH 

How's de killin' of de babies 'mongst de Hebrews 
comin' 'long? 

HEAD MAGICIAN 

Jes' like you ordered. 

PHARAOH 

[Genially \\ Dey killed all of 'em, huh? 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

HEAD MAGICIAN 

Do dey see one, dey kill 'im. You teachin' 'em a 
great lesson. Dey don' like it a-tall. 

PHARAOH 

[Smiling.] What do dey say? 

HEAD MAGICIAN 

[Pawing the air inarticulately^] I hates to tell in 
front of de ladies. 

PHARAOH 

Dey feels pretty bad, huh ? 

HEAD MAGICIAN 

Dat's jest de beginnin' of it. Betwixt de poleece and 
de soljahs we killed about a thousan' of 'em las' night. 
Dat's purty good. 

PHARAOH 

[Thoughtfully.] Yeh, it's fair. I guess you boys is 
doin' all you kin. But I fin' I ain't satisfied, though. 

HEAD MAGICIAN 

How you mean, Yo' Honor ? 

PHARAOH 

I mean I'd like to make dose Hebrew chillun realize 
dat I kin be even mo' of a pest. I mean I hates dem 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

chillun. An' I'm gonter think of a way of makin' 'cm 
even mo' mizzable. 

HEAD MAGICIAN 

But dey ain't anythin' meaner dan killin' de babies, 
King. 

PHARAOH 

Dey must be sump'n. Doggone, you is my head 
tricker, you put yo' brains on it. [To the others!] 
Quiet, whilst de Head Magician go into de silence. 

HEAD MAGICIAN 

[After turning completely around twice, and a mo- 
ment's cogitation.*] I tell you what I kin do. All de 
Hebrews dat ain't out to de buryin' grounds or in de 
hospitals is laborin' in de brick wukks. 

PHARAOH 

Yeh ? 

HEAD MAGICIAN 

[After a cackling laugh.] How would it be to take 
de straw away from 'em and tell 'em dey's got to turn 
out jest as many bricks as usual? Ain't dat nasty? 

PHARAOH 

Purty triflin', but I s'pose it'll have to do for de time 
bein'. Where's de extreme inner guard ? [One of the 
military attendants comes forward.] Go on out an' 
tell de sup'intendent to put dat into ee-ffect. [The at- 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

tendant bows and starts for the door. He stops as 
Pharaoh calls to him?] Wait a minute! Tell 'im to 
chop off de hands of anybody dat say he cain't make 
de bricks dat way. \The attendant salutes and exits, 
the door being opened and closed by one of the sol- 
diers.] Now what's de news in de magic line ? 

HEAD MAGICIAN 

I ain't got very many novelties today, King, I bin 
wukkin' too hard on de killin's. I'm so tired I don' 
believe I could lift a wand. 

[There are murmurs of protest from the assem- 
blage^ 

PHARAOH 

Doggone, you was to 'a been de chief feature o' de 
meetin' dis mawnin'. Look at de turn-out you got 
account of me tellin' 'em you was comin'. 

HEAD MAGICIAN 

Well, dat's de way it is, King. Why don* you git 
de wizards to do some spell castin' ? 

PHARAOH 

Dey say it's in dec yards dat dey cain't wukk till high 
noon. [He glances at the Wizards.] Think mebbe 
you kin cheat a little ? 

FIRST WIZARD 

Oh dat cain't be done, King. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

PHARAOH 

Well, we might as well adjourn, den. Looks to me 
like de whole program's shot to pieces. [He starts to 
rise, when there is a furious banging on the door.] 
What's de idea, dcre? See who dat is. [The soldiers 
open the door. Moses and Aaron enter, pushing the 
two soldiers aside and coming down in front of 
Pharaoh. The soldiers are bewildered and Pharaoh 
is a/. 10 tor you two baboons you could 

come in yere? 

MOSES 

Is you ol' King Pharaoh : 

PHARAOH 

Dat's me. Did you heah what I asked you? 

MOSES 

My name is Moses, and clis is my brother Aaron. 
[Murmur of "Hebrews" spreads through the 
room. J 

PHARAOH 

[In a rage.] Is you Hebrews? 

MOSES 

Yes, suh. 

PHARAOH 

[Almost screaming.*] Put 'em to de sword! 

[As the courtiers approach, Aaron suddenly dis- 
closes the rod, which he swings once over his 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

head. The courtiers draw bac\ as if their hands 
had been stung. Cries of "Hey!" "Lookout," 
etcr\ 

MOSES 

Keep outside dat circle. 
[The courtiers nearest Moses and Aaron loo\ at 
each other, exclaiming ad lib., "Did you feel 
dat?" "What is dat?" "What's goin on, heah?" 
"My hands is stingiril" etc7\ 

PHARAOH 

[Puzzled but threatening^ What's de idea yere ? 

MOSES 

We is magicians, oF King Pharaoh. 

PHARAOH 

[To the Head Magician.] Put a spell on 'em. [The 
Head Magician stands looking at them bewildered. 
To Moses.] I got some magicians, too. We'll see 
who's got de bes' magic. £Moses and Aaron laugh. 
Most of the courtiers are cowering. To the Head 
Magician.] Go ahead, give 'em gri-gri. 

MOSES 

Sure, go ahead. 

PHARAOH 

Hurry up, dey's laughin' at you. What's de matter ? 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

HEAD MAGICIAN 

I cain't think of de right spell. 

PHARAOH 

[Now frightened himself.^ You mean dey got even 
you whupped ? 

HEAD MAGICIAN 

Dey's got a new kind of magic. 

PHARAOH 

[Gazes at Head Magician a moment, bewildered. 
To the Wizards.] I s pose if de Professor cain't, you 
cain't. 

iirst wizard 

Dat's a new trick, King. 

HEAD MAGICIAN 

[Rubbing his fingers along his pdms^\ It's got 
'lectricity in it! 

PHARAOH 

Hm, well dat may make it a little difF rent. So you 
boys is magicians, too? 

MOSES 

Yes, suh. 

PHARAOH 

Well, we's always glad to see some new trickers in 
de co't, dat is if dey good. [He glances about him. J 
You look like you is O. K. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

MOSES 

Dat's what we claims, oF King Pharaoh. We think 
we's de best in de worP. 

PHARAOH 

You certainly kin talk big. Jest what is it you boys 
would like ? 

MOSES 

We came to show you some tricks. Den we's goin* 
to ask you to do somethin' for us. 

PHARAOH 

Well, I s'pose you know I'm a fool for conjurin'. If 
a man kin show me some tricks I ain't seen, I goes out 
of my way to do him a favor. 

MOSES 

Dat's good. Want to see de first trick? 

PHARAOH 

It ain't goin' to hurt nobody ? 



MOSES 

Dis one won't. 

PHARAOH 

Go ahead. 



D29II 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

MOSES 

Dis yere rod my brother has looks jes' like a walkin' 
stick, don't it? 

[The courtiers now join the King in interest?] 

PHARAOH 

Uh huh. Le's see. 

[[Aaron hands him the rod, which Pharaoh in- 
spects and returns!] 

MOSES 

Well, look what happens when he lays it on de 
groun'. 

[[Aaron places the rod on the second step of the 
throne. It turns into a lifeline snake. There are 
exclamations from the assemblage.*] 

PHARAOH 

Dat's a good trick ! Now turn it back into a walkin' 
stick again. [[Aaron pickj it up and it is again a rod. 
Exclamations of "Purty good!" "Dat's all right!" 
"What do you thin\ of that!" etc.] Say, you is good 
trickers ! 

MOSES 

You ain't never seen de beat of us. Now I'm goin' to 
ask de favor. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

PHARAOH 

Sure, what is it ? 

MOSES 

£&?fc/w7z/y/] Let de Hebrew chillun go! 

PHARAOH 

[Rises and stares at them. There is a murmur of 
"Listen to 'im!" "He's got nerve!" "I never in my 
life!" "My goodness!" etc.} What did you say ? 

MOSES 

Let de Hebrew chillun go. 
[[Pharaoh seats himself again.} 

PHARAOH 

[Slowly.} Don' you know de Hebrews is my 
slaves ? 

MOSES 

Yes, suh. 

PHARAOH 

Yes, suh, my slaves. [There is a distant groaning.*} 
Listen, and you kin hear 'em bein' treated like slaves. 
[He calls toward the window.} What was dey doin' 
den? 

MAN NEAR THE WINDOW 

Dey's jest gettin' de news down in de brick-yard. 

C130 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

■ 

PHARAOH 

I won't let them go. [He snorts contemptuously^ 
Let's see another trick. 

MOSES 

Yes, suh, yere's a better one. [He lowers his head.^ 
Let's have a plague of tie ilies. 

[ Aaron raises the rod. The room grows dar\ and 
a great buzzing of flies is heard. The courtiers 
breaf^ out in cries of "Get away fum me!" "Ta\e 
'cm away!" "De place is filled with flies!" 
"Dis is terrible!" "Do sump'n, Pharaoh!" 

PHARAOH 

[Topping the others^} All right — stop de trick! 

MOSES 

Will you let de Hebrews go? 

PHARAOH 

Sho' I will. Go ahead stop it! 

MOSES 

[Also above the others^} Begone! 
[The buzzing stops and the room is filled with 
light again, as Aaron lowers the rod. All 
except Moses and Aaron are brushing the flies 
from their persons.^ 

D3 2 U 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

PHARAOH 

{Laughing^ Doggone, dat was a good trick! \Thc 
others, seeing they are uninjured, join in the laughter, 
with exclamations of "Doggone!" "You all right?" 
"Sho' I'm all right!' "Didn hurt me," etc.^ You is 
good trickers. 

MOSES 

Will you let de Hebrew chillun go? 

PHARAOH 

^Sitting down again^\ Well, I'll tell you, boys. I'll 
tell you sump'n you didn' know. You take me, I'm a 
pretty good tricker, an' I jest outtricked you. So, bein* 
de bes' tricker, I don' think I will let 'em go. You got 
any mo' tricks yo'self ? 

MOSES 

Yes, suh. Dis is a little harder one. £ Aaron lifts 
the rod!} Gnats in de mill pon', gnats in de clover, 
gnats in de tater patch, stingin' all over. 

XJYhe stage grows dar\ again. There is the hum- 
ming of gnats and the slapping of hands against 
faces and arms, and the same protests as were 
heard with the flies, but with more feeling, "Ym 
gittin' stung to death!" "Ym all stung!" 
"Dey're like hornets!" "Dey's on my face!" etc!} 

PHARAOH 

Take 'em away, Moses! 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

MOSES 

{His voice drowning the others^ If I do, will you 
let 'em go? 

PHARAOH 

Sho' I will, dis time. 

MOSES 

Do you mean it ? 

PHARAOH 

Co'se I mean it! Doggone! one just stang me on 
de nose. 

MOSES 

Begone! [Lights come up as Aaron lowers the 
rod. There is a moment of general recovery again. 
Pharaoh rubs his nose, loo\s at his hands, etc., as do 
the others.^ Now, how about it? 

PHARAOH 

[Smiling.^ Well, I'll tell you, Moses. Now dat de 
trick's over — 

£Moses ta\es a step toward Pharaoh.] 

MOSES 

Listen, Pharaoh. You been lyin' to me, and I'm 
gittin' tired of it. 

PHARAOH 

I ain't lyin', I'm trickin', too. You been trickin' me 
and I been trickin' you. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

MOSES 

I see. Well, I got one mo' trick up my sleeve which 
I didn't aim to wukk unless I had to. Caize when I 
does it, I cain't undo it. 

PHARAOH 

Wukk it an' I'll trick you right back. I don' say you 
ain't a good tricker, Moses. You is one of de best I 
ever seen. But I kin outtrick you. Dat's all. 

MOSES 

It ain't only me dat's goin' to wukk dis trick. It's me 
an' de Lawd. 

PHARAOH 

Who? 

MOSES 

De Lawd God of Israel. 

PHARAOH 

I kin outtrick you an' de Lawd too! 

MOSES 

Xjingrily7\ Now you done it, oF King Pharaoh. 
You been mean to de Lawd's people, and de Lawd's 
been easy on you caize you didn' know no better. You 
been givin' me a lot of say-so-and no do-so, and I didn' 
min' dat. But now you've got to braggin' dat you's 
better dan de Lawd, and dat's too many. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

PHARAOH 

You talk like a preacher, an' I never did like to hear 
preachers talk. 

MOSES 

You ain't goin' to like it any better, when I strikes 
down de oldes' boy in every one of yo' people's houses. 

PHARAOH 

Now you've given up trickin' and is jest lyin'. [He 
rises ?[ Listen, I'm Pharaoh. I do de strikin' down 
yere. I strike down my enemies, and derc's no one in 
all Egypt kin kill who he wants to, 'ceptin' me. 

MOSES 

I'm sorry, Pharaoh. Will you let de Hebrews go? 

PHARAOH 

You heard my word. [ Aaron is lifting his rod again 
at a signal from Moses.] Now, no more tricks or 

rn- 

MOSES 

Oh, Lawd, you'll have to do it, I guess. Aaron, lift 
de rod. 

[There is a thunderclap, darkness and screams. 
The lights go up. Several of the younger men 
on the stage have fallen to the ground or are 
being held in the arms of the horrified elders^ 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

PHARAOH 

What have you done yere ? Where's my boy ? 
[Through the door come four men bearing a 
young man's body7\ 

FIRST OF THE FOUR MEN 

King Pharaoh. 

[Tharaoh drops into his chair, stunned, as the 
dead boy is brought to the throne7\ 

PHARAOH 

[Grief -stric\en^\ Oh, my son, my fine son. 
[The courtiers loo\ at him with mute appeal^ 

MOSES 

I'm sorry, Pharaoh, but you cain't fight de Lawd. 
Will you let his people go? 

PHARAOH 

Let them go. 

[The lights go out. The Choir begins, "Mary 
Dont You Weep," and continues until it is 
broken by the strains of "Ym Noways Weary and 
I'm Noways Tired." The latter is sung by many 
more voices than the former, and the cacophony 
ends as the latter grows in volume and the lights 
go up on the next scene.^ 

D37H 






THE GREEN PASTURES 



Scene IV 

The Children of Israel are marching on the 
treadmill and now singing fortissimo. They are 
of all ages and most of them are ragged. The 
men have packj on their shoulders, one or two 
have hand carts. The line stretches across the 
stage. It is nearing twilight, and the faces of the 
assemblage are illumined by the rays of the late 
afternoon sun. The upper treadmill carries a 
gradually rising and falling middle distance past 
the marchers. The foot of a mountain appears; a 
trumpet call is heard as the foot of the mountain 
reaches stage center. The marchers halt. The 
picture now shows the mountain running up out 
of sight off right. The singing stops. A babel 
of "What's de matter?" "Why do we stop?" 
"Taint sundown yet!" "What's happened?" 
"What's goin on?" "What are they blowin 
for?" etc. Those looking ahead begin to mur- 
mur. "It's Moses," "Moses." "What's hap- 
pened to him?" The others ta\e up the repeti- 
tion of "Moses," and Moses enters, on the arm 
of Aaron. He is now an old man, as is his 
brother, and he totters toward the center of the 
stage. Cries of "What's de matter, Moses?" 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

"You ain't hurt, is you?" "Ain't that too bad?" 
etc. He slowly seats himself on the roc\ at the 
foot of the mountain. 

AARON 

How you f eelin' now, brother ? 

MOSES 

I'm so weary, Aaron. Seems like I was took all of a 
sudden. 

AARON 

Do we camp yere? 

MOSES 

[^Pathetically .] No, you got to keep goin\ 

AARON 

But you cain't go no further tonight, brother. 

MOSES 

Dis never happened to me befo\ 

A YOUNG WOMAN 

But you's a oP man, now, Father Moses. You cain't 
expect to go as fas' as we kin. 

MOSES 

But de Lawd said I'd do it. He said I was to show 
you de Promised Land. Fo'ty years, I bin leadin' you. 

&39JI 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

I led you out o' Egypt. I led you past Sinai, and 
through de wilderness. Oh, I cain't fall down on you 
now! 

AARON 

Le's res' yere fo' de night. Den we'll see how you 
fed in de mo'nin'. 

MOSES 

We tor de scouts we'd meet 'em three miles furder 
on. I hate fo' 'em to come back all dis way to report. 
Tis gettin' a little dark, ain't it? 

AARON 

It ain't dark, Brother. 

MOSES 

No, it's my eyes. 

AARON 

Maybe it's de dust. 

MOSES 

No, I jest cain't seem to see. Oh, Lawd, dey cain't 
have a blind man leadin' 'em! Where is you, Aaron? 

AARON 

I'se right yere, Moses. 

MOSES 

Do you think— [Pause \\ Oh! Do you think it's 
de time He said ? 

&4°3 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

AARON 

How you mean, Moses ? 
[Crowd loo\ from one to another in wonder \\ 

MOSES 

He said I could lead 'em to de Jordan, dat I'd see de 
Promised Land, and dat's all de further I could go, on 
account I broke de laws. Little while back I thought 
/ did see a river ahead, and a pretty land on de other 
side. [Distant shouts "Hooray!" "Yere dey are!" 
"Dey travelled quic\! f etc?} Where's de young leader 
of de troops ? Where's Joshua ? 

[The call "Joshua" is ta\en up by those on the 
right of the stage, followed almost immediately 
by "Yere he is!" "Moses wants you!" etc.} 
[Joshua enters. He is a fine looking Negro of 
about thirty. 2 

JOSHUA 

[Going to Moses' side.} Yes, suh. 

MOSES 

What's de shoutin' 'bout, Joshua? 

JOSHUA 

De scouts is back wid de news. De Jordan is right 
ahead of us, and Jericho is jest on de other side. Moses, 
we're dere! [There are cries of "Hallelujah!" "De 

D413 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

Lawd be praisedl" "Hooray!" "De Kingdoms 
comiril" etc. With a considerable stir among the 
marchers, several new arrivals crowd in from right, 
shouting "Moses, were derel" Joshua seeing the new- 
comers \\ Yere's de scouts! 

[Three very ragged and dusty young men advance 
to Moses.] 

moses 

[As the shouting dies.*] So it's de River Jordan? 

FIRST SCOUT 

Yes, suh. 

MOSES 

All we got to take is de city of Jericho. 

FIRST SCOUT 

Yes, suh. 

MOSES 

Joshua, you got to take charge of de fightin' men, 
an' Aaron's gotta stay by de priests. 

JOSHUA 

What about you? 

MOSES 

You are leavin' me behind. Joshua, you gonter get 
de fightin' men together and take dat city befo' sun- 
down. 

JOSHUA 

It's a big city, Moses, wid walls all 'round it. We 
ain't got enough men. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

MOSES 

You'll take it, Joshua. 

JOSHUA 

Yes, suh, but how ? 

MOSES 

Move up to de walls wid our people. Tell de priests 
to go wid you with de rams' horns. You start marchin' 
'roun' dem walls, and den — 

JOSHUA 

Yes, suh. 

MOSES 

De Lawd'll take charge, jest as he's took charge ev'y 
time I've led you against a city. He ain't never failed, 
has he? 

SEVERAL VOICES 

No, Moses, \jill raise their heads^\ 

MOSES 

And he ain't goin' to fail us now. \He prays. All 
bowr\ Oh, Lawd, I'm turnin' over our brave young 
men to you, caize I know you don' want me to 
lead 'em any further. \Jlisesr\ Jest like you said, I've 
got to de Jordan but I cain't git over it. An' yere dey 
goin' now to take de city of Jericho. In a little while 
dey'll be marchin' 'roun' it. An' would you please be 
so good as to tell 'em what to do? Amen. [T<9 
Joshua.] Go ahead. Ev'ybody follows Joshua now. 

Ml 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

Give de signal to move on wid e'vything. [A trumpet 
is heard.*] You camp fo' de night in de City of Jericho. 
£Moses seats himself on the rocl{.] 

JOSHUA 

Cain't we help you, Moses ? 

MOSES 

You go ahead. De Lawd's got his plans fo' me. 
Soun' de signal to march. [Another trumpet call is 
heard. The company starts marching off. Aaron 
lingers a moment.] Take care of de Ark of de Cove- 
nant, Aaron. 

AARON 

Yes, Brother. Good-bye. 

MOSES 

Good-bye, Aaron. [The singing is resumed softly 
and dies away. The last of the marchers has disap- 
peared.] Yere I is, Lawd. De chillun is goin' into de 
Promised Land. [God enters from behind the hill. He 
wdhj to Moses, puts his hands on his shoulders^] 
You's with me, ain't you, Lawd ? 

GOS 

Co'se I is. 

MOSES 

Guess I'm through, Lawd. Jest like you said I'd be, 
when I broke de tablets of de law. De oP machine's 
broke down. 

Cm3 



THE GREEN PASTURES 



GOD 

Jest what was it I said to you, Moses? Do you re- 
member ? 

MOSES 

You said I couldn't go into de Promised Land. 

GOD 

Dat's so. But dat ain't all dey was to it. 

MOSES 

How you mean, Lawd ? 

GOD 

Moses, you been a good man. You been a good 
leader of my people. You got me angry once, dat's 
true. And when you anger me I'm a God of Wrath. 
But I never meant you wasn't gonter have what was 
comin' to you. An' I ain't goin' to do you out of it, 
Moses. It's jest de country acrost de River dat you ain't 
gonter enter. You gonter have a Promised Land. I 
been gettin' it ready fo' you, fo' a long time. Kin you 
stand up? 

MOSES 

[Rising, with God's help!} Yes, suh, Lawd. 

GOD 

Come on, I'm goin' to show it to you. We goin' up 
dis hill to see it. Moses, it's a million times nicer dan de 
Land of Canaan. [They start up the hill.*} 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

MOSES 

I cain't hardly sec. 

GOD 

Don't worry. Dat's jest caize you so old. 

[They takjz a step or two up the hill, when Moses 
stops suddenly!^ 

MOSES 

Oh! 

GOD 

What's de matter ? 

MOSES 

We cain't be doin' dis! 

GOD 

Co'se we kin! 

MOSES 

But I fo'got! I fo'got about Joshua and de fightin' 
men! 

GOD 

How about 'em? 

MOSES 

Dey're marchin' on Jericho. I tol' 'em to march 
aroun' de walls and den de Lawd would be dere to 
tell 'em what to do. 

GOD 

Dat's all right. He's dere. 

MOSES 

Den who's dis helpin' me up de hill? 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Yo' faith, yo' God. 

MOSES 

And is you over dere helpin' them too, Lawd? Is 
you goin' to tell dem poor chillun what to do ? 

GOD 

Co'se I is. Listen, Moses. I'll show you how I'm 
helpin' dem. 

[From the distance comes the blast of the rams' 
horns, the sound of crumbling walls, a roar, and 
a moment's silence. The Choir begins "Joshua 
Fit De Battle of Jericho" and continues through 
the rest of the scene^\ 

MOSES 

You did it, Lawd! You've tooken it! Listen to de 
chillun' — dey's in de Land of Canaan at last! You's de 
only God dey ever was, ain't you, Lawd ? 

GOD 

[Quietly^ Come on, oP man. [They continue up 
the hilir\ 

[The stage is dar\ened^\ 

mr. deshee [In the dar/Q 
But even dat scheme didn' work. Caize after dey 
got into the Land of Canaan dey went to de dogs again. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

And dey went into bondage again. Only dis time it 
was in de City of Babylon. 

[The Choir, which has been singing "Cairit Stay 
Away," stops as the next scene begins.^ 



Scene V 

Under a low ceiling is a room vaguely resembling a 
Negro night club in New Orleans. Two or three long 
tables run across the room, and on the left is a table on 
a dais with a gaudy canopy above it. The table bears 
a card mar\ed "Reserved for King and guests." 

Flashy young men and women are seated at the 
tables. About a dozen couples are dancing in the 
foreground to the tune of a jazz orchestra. The cos- 
tumes are what would be worn at a Negro masquerade 
to represent the debauchees of Babylon. 

FIRST MAN 

When did yuh git to Babylon ? 

SECOND MAN 

I jes' got in yesterday. 

third man [Dancing^ 
How do you like dis baby, Joe ? 

FOURTH MAN 

Hot damn! She could be de King's pet! 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

A WOMAN 

Anybody seen my papa ? 

THIRD MAN 

Don' fo'git de dance at de High Priest's house to- 
morrow. 

[The dance stops as a bugle call is heard. Enter 
Master of Ceremonies.] 

master of ceremonies 
Stop! Tonight's guest of honor, de King of Babylon 
an' party of five. 

[Enter the King and five girls. The King has on 
an imitation ermine cloa\ over his conventional 
evening clothes and wears a diamond tiara. All 
rise as the King enters, and sing, "Hail, de King 
of Bab — Bab — Babylon. 



» 



KING 

Wait till you see de swell table I got. [He crosses 
the stage to his table. The girls are jabbering^ Re- 
mind me to send you a peck of rubies in de mo'nin'. 

MASTER OF CEREMONIES 

Ev'nin', King! 

king 
Good ev'nin'. How's de party goin' ? 

L*49l 



THE GRIEN PASTURES 

MASTER OF CEREMONIES 

Bes' one we ever had in Babylon, King. 

KING 

Any Jew boys yere? 

MASTER OF CEREMONIES 

[Indicating some of the others!} Lot o' dem yere. 
I kin go git mo' if you want 'em. 

KING 

I was really referrin' to de High Priest. He's a 
'ticlar frien' o' mine an' he might drop in. You know 
what he look like? 

MASTER OF CEREMONIES 

No, suh, but I'll be on de look-out fo' him. 

KING 

O.K. Now le's have a lil good time. 

MASTER OF CEREMONIES 

Yes, suh. [To the orchestral} Let 'er go, boys. 
[The music begins, waiters appear with food and 
great urns painted gold and silver, from which 
they pour out wine for the guests. The Master 
of Ceremonies exits. The King's dancing-girls 
go to the middle of the floor, and start to dance. 
The King puts his arms about the waists of two 
girls, and draws them to him.} 

toon 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

KING 

Hot damn! Da's de way! Let de Jew boys see our 
gals kin dance better 'n dere's. {There is an ad lib. babel 
of "Da's de truth, King!" "I don \now — we got some 
good gals, tool" etcr\ Dey ain' nobody in de worF like 
de Babylon gals. 

{The dancing grows faster, the watchers \eep time 
with hand-claps. The door at the left opens sud- 
denly, and the Prophet, a patriarchal, ragged 
figure enters. He loo\s belligerently about the 
room, and is followed almost immediately by 
the Master of Ceremonies.]] 

prophet 
Stop! {The music and the dancers halt^\ 

KING 

What's the idea, bustin' up my party? 

MASTER OF CEREMONIES 

He said he was expected, King. I thought mebbe 
he was de — 

KING 

Did you think he was de High Priest of de Hebrews ? 
Why, he's jest an oF bum! De High Priest is a fashion 
plate. T'row dis ole bum out o' yere! 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

PROPHET 

Stop! 

[Those who have been advancing to seize him 
stop, somewhat amused.^ 

KING 

Wait a minute. Don't throw him out. Let's see 
what he has to say. 

PROPHET 

Listen to me, King of Babylon! IVe been sent 
yere by de Lawd God Jehovah. Don't you dare lay a 
hand on de Prophet! 

KING 

Oh, you're a prophet, is yuh ? Well, you know we 
don' keer much fo' prophets in dis part of de country. 

PROPHET 

Listen to me, sons and daughters of Babylon! 
Listen, you children of Israel dat's given yo'selves over 
to de evil ways of yo' oppressors ! You're all wallowin' 
like hogs in sin, an' de wrath of Gawd ain' goin' to be 
held back much longer! I'm tellin' you, repent befo' 
it's too late. Repent befo' Jehovah casts down de same 
lire dat burned up Sodom and Gomorrah. Repent 
befo' de — [During this scene yells increase as the 
Prophet continues^ 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

[The High Priest enters Left. He is a fat volup- 
tuary, elaborately clothed in brightly colored 
robes. He wal\s in hand in hand with a 
gaudily dressed "chippy!^ 

HIGH PRIEST 

[Noise stops. J Whoa, dere! What you botherin' 
the King fo'? 

PROPHET 

[Wheeling^ And you, de High Priest of all Israel, 
walkin' de town wid a dirty li'l tramp. 

KING 

Seems to be a frien' o' yours, Jake. 

HIGH PRIEST 

[Crossing to the King with his girl^\ Aw, he's one 
of dem wild men, like Jeremiah and Isaiah. Don' let 
him bother you none. [Pushes Prophet aside and goes 
to King's tabled 

PROPHET 

You consort with harlots, an' yo' pollution in the 
sight of de Lawd. De Lawd God's goin' to smite you 
down, jest as he's goin' to smite down all dis wicked 
world! [Grabs High Priest and turns him around r\ 

KING 

[Angrily against the last part of the preceding 
speechr\ Wait a minute. I'm getting tired of this. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

Don' throw him out. Jest kill him! [There is the 
sound of a shot. The Prophet falls.^ 

PROPHET 

Smite 'em down, Lawd, like you said. Dey ain't a 
decent person left in de whole world. 

[He dies. Master of Ceremonies, revolver in 
hand, loo\s down at the Prophet.] 

MASTER OF CEREMONIES 

He's dead, King. 

KING 

Some of you boys take him out. 

[A couple of young men come from the back- 
ground and wal\ off with the body\[ 

high priest 
Don' know whether you should'a done that, King. 

KING 

Why not ? 

HIGH PRIEST 

I don' know whether de Lawd would like it. 

KING 

Now, listen, Jake. You know yo' Lawd ain't payin' 
much attention to dis man's town. Except fo' you boys, 
it's tho'ly protected by de Gods o' Babylon. 

D54:] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

HIGH PRIEST 

I know, but jest de same — 

KING 

Look yere, s'pose I give you a couple huncTed pieces 
of silver. Don' you s'pose you kin arrange to persuade 
yo' Gawd to keep his hands off ? 

HIGH PRIEST 

[Oilily!} Well of co'se we could try. I dunno how 

well it would work. 

[As the High Priest spea\s, The King claps his 

hands. Master of Ceremonies enters with bag 

of money ■.] 

king 
Yere it is. 

HIGH PRIEST 

[Smiling!} I guess we kin square things up. [He 
prays — whiningly!} Oh Lawd, please forgive my po' 
frien' de King o' Babylon. He didn't know what he 
was doin' an' — 

[There is a clap of thunder, dar\ness for a second. 
The lights go up and God is standing in the cen- 
ter of the room. 2 

GOD 

[In a voice of doom.*} Dat's about enough. [The 
guests are horrified?} Fs stood all I kin from you. I 

D553 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

tried to make dis a good earth. I helped Adam, I 
helped Noah, I helped Moses, an' I helped David. 
What's de grain dat grew out of de seed? Sin! 
Nothin' but sin throughout de whole world. I've given 
you ev'y chance. I sent you warriors and prophets. 
I've given you laws and commandments, an' you be- 
trayed my trust. Ev'ything I've given you, you've de- 
filed. Ev'y time I've fo'given you, you've mocked me. 
An' now de High Priest of Israel tries to trifle wid my 
name. Listen, you chillun of darkness, yo' Lawd is 
tried. I'm tired of de struggle to make you worthy of 
de breadi I gave you. I put you in bondage ag'in to 
cure you an' yo' worse dan you was amongst de flesh 
pots of Egypt. So I renounce you. Listen to the words 
of yo' lawd God Jehovah, for dcy is de last words yo' 
ever hear from me. I repent of dese people dat I have 
made and I will deliver dem no more. 

[There is darkness and cries of "Mercy!" "Have 
pity, Lawdr "We didn mean it, Lawd!" 
"Forgive us, Lawd!" etc. The Choir sings 
"Death's Gwinter Lay His Cold ley Hands On 
Me" until the lights go up on the next scene^\ 



Scene VI 

God is writing at his des\. Outside, past the door, 
goes Hose a, a dignified old man, with wings li\e 
Jacob's. God, sensing his presence, lookj up from the 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

paper he is examining, and follows him out of the cor- 
ner of his eye. Angrily he resumes his wor\ as soon as 
Hosea is out of sight. There is a \noc\ on the door. 

GOD 

Who is it? 

^Gabriel enters \\ 

GABRIEL 

It's de delegation, Lawd. 

GOD 

[Wearily \\ Tell 'em to come in. 
[Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses enter.*} 
Good mo'nin', gen'lemen. 

THE VISITORS 

Good mo'nin', Lawd. 

GOD 

What kin I do for you ? 

MOSES 

You know, Lawd. Go back to our people. 

GOD 

[Shading his head.} Ev'ry day fo' hund'ed's of 
years you boys have come in to ask dat same thing. 
De answer is still de same. I repented of de people I 

D573 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

made. I said I would deliver dem no more. Good 
mo'nin', gen'lemen. [The four visitors rise and exeunt. 
Gabriel remains^ Gabe, why do dey do it? 

GABRIEL 

I 'spect dey think you gonter change yo' mind. 

GOD 

[Sadly \\ Dey don' know me. £Hosea again passes 
the door. His shadow shows on wall. Gabriel is per- 
plexed, as he watches. God again lookj surreptitiously 
over His shoulder at the passing figure.*} I don' like 
dat, either. 

GABRIEL 

What, Lawd ? 

GOD 

Dat man. 

GABRIEL 

He's jest a prophet, Lawd. Dat's jest old Hosea. He 
jest come up the other day. 

GOD 

I know. He's one of de few dat's come up yere since 
I was on de earth last time. 

GABRIEL 

Ain' been annoyin' you, has he ? 

D58] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

I don' like him walkin' past de door. 

GABRIEL 

All you got to do is tell him to stop, Lawd. 

GOD 

Yes, I know. I don' want to tell him. He's got a 
right up yere or he wouldn' be yere. 

GABRIEL 

You needn' be bothered by him hangin' aroun' de 
office all de time. I'll tell 'im. Who's he think he — 

GOD 

No, Gabe. I find it ain't in me to stop him. I some- 
times jest wonder why he don' come in and say hello. 

GABRIEL 

You want him to do dat ? 
XJtle moves as if to go to the door7\ 

GOD 

He never has spoke to me, and if he don' wanta 
come in, I ain't gonter make him. But dat ain't de 
worst of it, Gabriel. 

GABRIEL 

What is, Lawd ? 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Ev'y time he goes past de door I hears a voice. 

GABRIEL 

One of de angels ? 

GOD 

[Shading his head.*} It's from de earth. It's a man. 

GABRIEL 

You mean he's prayin' ? 

GOD 

No, he ain't exactly prayin'. He's jest talkin' in such 
a way dat I got to lissen. His name is Hezdrel. 

GABRIEL 

Is he on de books ? 

GOD 

No, not yet. But ev'y time dat Hosea goes past I 
hear dat voice. 

GABRIEL 

Den tell it to stop. 

GOD 

I find I don' want to do that, either. Dey's gettin' 
ready to take Jerusalem down dere. Dat was my big 
fine city. Dis Hezdrel, he's jest one of de defenders. 
[Suddenly and passionately, almost wildly^ I ain't 
comin' down. You hear me? I ain't comin' down. 
[He lookj at Gabriel.] Go ahead, Gabriel. 'Tend 
to yo' chores. I'm gonter keep wukkin' yere. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GABRIEL 

I hates to see you feelin' like dis, Lawd. 

GOD 

Dat's all right. Even bein' Gawd ain't a bed of roses. 
^Gabriel exits. Hosea's shadow is on the wall. For a 
second Hosea hesitates. God loo\s at the wall. Goes to 
window?} I hear you. I know yo' fightin' bravely, but 
I ain't comin' down. Oh, why don' you leave me 
alone ? You know you ain't talkin' to me. Is you talkin* 
to me? I cain't stand yo' talkin' dat way. I kin only 
hear part of what you' sayin', and it puzzles me. Don' 
you know you cain't puzzle God ? \A pause. Then 
tenderly r\ Do you want me to come down dere ve'y 
much? You know I said I wouldn't come down? 
^Fiercely ».] Why don' he answer me a little? \With 
clenched fists, loo\s down through the window^ 
Listen! I'll tell you what I'll do. I ain't goin' to 
promise you anythin', and I ain't goin' to do nothin" 
to help you. I'm jest feelin' a little low, an' I'm only 
comin' down to make myself feel a little better, dat's 
all. 

\The stage is darkened. Choir begins "A Blind 
Man Stood In De Middle of De Road," and con- 
tinues until the lights go up on the next scene.} 



Crfi] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 



Scene VII 

It is a shadowed corner beside the wcdls of the temple 
in Jerusalem. The light of camp fires flickers on the 
figure of Hezdrel, who was Adam in Part I. He 
stands in the same position Adam held when first dis- 
covered but in his right hand is a sword, and his left is 
in a sling. Around him are several prostrate bodies. 
Pistol and cannon shots, then a trumpet call. Six 
young men enter from left in command of a Corporal. 
They are all armed. 

CORPORAL 

De fightin's stopped fo' de night, Hezdrel. 

HEZDREL 

Yes? 

CORPORAL 

Dey're goin' to begin ag'in at cockcrow. [Man 
enters, crosses the stage and exits7\ Herod say he's 
goin' to take de temple tomorrow, burn de books and 
de Ark of de Covenant, and put us all to de sword. 

HEZDREL 

Yo' ready, ain't you ? 

EVERYBODY 

Yes, Hezdrel. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

HEZDREL 

Did de food get in through de hole in de city wall ? 
\jTwo soldiers enter, cross the stage and exit^\ 

CORPORAL 

Yessuh, we's goin' back to pass it out now, 

HEZDREL 

Good. Any mo' of our people escape today ? 

CORPORAL 

Or Herod's got de oP hole covered up now, but 
fifteen of our people got out a new one we made. 
\^Other soldiers enter, cross the stage and exit^\ 

HEZDREL 

Good. Take dese yere wounded men back and git 
'em took care of. 

CORPORAL 

Yes, suh. 

{They pic\ up the bodies on the ground and carry 
them offstage as Hezdrel spea\s^\ 

HEZDREL 

So dey gonter take de temple in de mo'nin' ? We'll 
be waitin' for 'em. Jest remember, boys, when dey kill 
us we leap out of our skins, right into de lap of God. 
\jThe men disappear with the wounded; from the 
deep shadow upstage comes God/] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Hello, Hezdrel — Adam. 

HEZDREL 

[Rubbing his forehead ^\ Who is you? 

GOD 

Me? I'm jest an oF preacher, from back in de hills. 

HEZDREL 

What you doin' yere ? 

GOD 

I heard you boys was fightin'. I jest wanted to see 
how it was goin'. 

HEZDREL 

Well, it ain't goin' so well. 

GOD 

Dey got you skeered, huh ? 

HEZDREL 

Look yere, who is you, a spy in my brain? 

GOD 

Cain't you see Fs one of yo' people? 

HEZDREL 

Listen, Preacher, we ain't skeered. We's gonter be 
killed, but we ain't skeered. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Vs glad to hear dat. Kin I ask you a question, 
Hezdrel? 

HEZDREL 

What is it? 

GOD 

How is it you is so brave ? 

HEZDREL 

Caize we got faith, dat's why! 

GOD 

Faith? In who? 

HEZDREL 

In our dear Lawd God. 

GOD 

But God say he abandoned ev' one down yere. 

HEZDREL 

Who say dat ? Who dare say dat of de Lawd God of 
Hosea? 

GOD 

De God of Hosea? 

HEZDREL 

You heard me. Look yere, you is a spy in my brain! 

D653 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

No, I ain't, Hezdrel. I'm jest puzzled. You ought 
to know dat. 

HEZDREL 

How come you so puzzled 'bout de God of Hosea ? 

GOD 

I don' know. Maybe I jest don' hear things. You 
see, I live 'way back in de hills. 

HEZDREL 

What you wanter find out ? 

GOD 

Ain't de God of Hosea de same Jehovah dat was de 
God of Moses? 

HEZDREL 

[Contemptuously \\ No. Dat ol' God of wrath 
and vengeance ? We have de God dat Hosea preached 
to us. He's de one God. 

GOD 

Who's he? 

HEZDREL 

[Reverently r\ De God of mercy. 

GOD 

Hezdrel, don' you think dey must be de same God ? 

ni66] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

HEZDREL 

I don' know. I ain't bothered to think much about 
it. Maybe dey is. Maybe our God is de same ol' God. 
I guess we jest got tired of his appearance dat ol' way. 

GOD 

What you mean, Hezdrel ? 

HEZDREL 

Oh, dat ol' God dat walked de earth in de shape of 
a man. I guess he lived wid man so much dat all he 
seen was de sins in man. Dat's what made him de God 
of wrath and vengeance. Co'se he made Hosea. An' 
Hosea never would a found what mercy was unless 
dere was a little of it in God, too. Anyway, he ain't a 
fearsome God no mo'. Hosea showed us dat. 

GOD 

How you s'pose Hosea found dat mercy ? 

HEZDREL 

De only way he could find it. De only way I found 
it. De only way anyone kin find it. 

GOD 

How's dat? 

HEZDREL 

Through suff erin\ 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

Xjijter a pause.*] What if dcy kill you in de mo'nin', 
Hezdrel. 

HEZDREL 

If dey do, dey do. Dat's all. 

GOD 

Herod say he's goin' to burn de temple — 

HEZDREL 

So he say. 

GOD 

And burn de Ark an' de books. Den dat's de end 
of de books, ain't it ? 

HEZDREL 

^Buoyantly.] What you mean? If he burns dem 
things in dere ? Naw. Dem's jest copies. 

GOD 

Where is de others ? 

HEZDREL 

{^Tapping his head.] Dey's a set in yere. Fifteen 
got out through de hole in the city wall today. A 
hundred and fifty got out durin' de week. Each of em 
is a set of de books. Dey's scattered safe all over de 
countryside now, jest waitin' to git pen and paper fo' 
to put 'em down agin. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

GOD 

[Proudly .] Dey cain't lick you, kin dey Hezdrel ? 

HEZDREL 

XSmiling^X I know dey cain't. [Trumpet.^ You 
better get out o' yere, Preacher, if you wanter carry de 
news to yo' people. It'll soon be daylight. 

GOD 

I'm goin'. [He ta\es a step upstage and stops.^ 
Want me to take any message ? 

HEZDREL 

Tell de people in de hills dey ain't nobody like de 
Lawd God of Hosea. 

GOD 

I will. If dey kill you tomorrow I'll bet dat God of 
Hosea'll be waitin' for you. 

HEZDREL 

I }{now he will. 

GOD 

[Quietly.^ Thank you, Hezdrel. 

HEZDREL 

Fo' what? 

GOD 

Fo' tellin' me so much. You see I been so far away, 
I guess I was jest way behin' de times. 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

[He exits. Pause, then trumpet sounds.] 
£Hezdrel paces bac\ and forth once or twice. 
Another young soldier appears. Other men en- 
ter and stand grouped about Hezdrel.] 

SECOND OFFICER 

[Excitedly?] Dc cock's jest crowed, Hezdrel. Dey 
started de fightin' ag'in. 

HEZDREL 

We's ready for 'em. Come on, boys. [From the 
darkness upstage comes another group of soldiers?] 
Dis is de day dey say dey'll git us. Le's fight till de last 
man goes. What d'you say? 

CORPORAL 

Le's go, Hezdrel ! 

HEZDREL 

[Calling left?] Give 'em ev'ything, boys! 
[There is a movement toward the left, a bugle 
call and the sound of distant battle. The lights 
go out. The Choir is heard singing, "March 
On," triumphantly. They continue to sing after 
the lights go up on the next scene.] 



t>7<0 



THE GREEN PASTURES 



Scene VIII 

It is the same setting as the Fish Fry Scene in Part I. 
The same angels are present but the Choir, instead of 
marching, is standing in a double row on an angle up- 
stage right. God is seated in an armchair near center. 
He faces the audience. As the Choir continues to 
sing, Gabriel enters, unnoticed by the chattering 
angels. He looks at God who is staring thoughtfully 
toward the audience. 

GABRIEL 

You look a little pensive, Lawd. £God nods his 
headr\ Have a seegar, Lawd ? 

GOD 

No thanks, Gabriel. 

^Gabriel goes to the table, accepts a cup of cus- 
tard; chats with the angel behind the table for a 
moment as he sips, puts the cup down and re- 
turns to the side of God.] - 

GABRIEL 

You look awful pensive, Lawd. You been sittin' 
yere, lookin' dis way, an awful long time. Is it some- 
thin' serious, Lawd ? 

GOD 

Very serious, Gabriel. 

C1713 



THE GREEN PASTURES 



GABRIEL 

X^Awed by His tone.] Lawd, is de time come for 
me to blow ? 

GOD 

Not yet, Gabriel. I'm just thinkin'. 

GABRIEL 

What about, Lawd ? [Puts up hand. Singing stops?] 

GOD 

'Bout somethin' de boy tol' me. Somethin' 'bout 
Hosea, and himself. How dey foun' somethin'. 

GABRIEL 

What, Lawd ? 

GOD 

Mercy. \ji paused] Through suffering he said. 

GABRIEL 

Yes, Lawd. 

GOD 

I'm tryin' to find it, too. It's awful impo'tant. It's 
awful impo'tant to all de people on my earth. Did he 
mean dat even God must suffer ? 

£God continues to loo\ out over the audience for a 
moment and then a loo\ of surprise comes into 
his face. He sighs. In the distance a voice 
cries.] 



THE GREEN PASTURES 

THE VOICE 

Oh, look at him! Oh, look, dey goin' to make him 
carry it up dat high hill! Dey goin' to nail him to it! 
Oh, dat's a terrible burden for one man to carry! 

£God rises and murmurs "Yes!" as if in recogni- 
tion. The heavenly beings have been watching 
him closely, and now, seeing him smile gently, 
draw bac\, relieved. All the angels burst into 
"Hallelujah, King Jesus!' God continues to 
smile as the lights fade away. The singing be- 
comes fortissimo. 



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